Each one of us has our own ideas of what it means to be successful. This definition of success comes from observing the people around us, lessons we’ve learned from our parents, what we’ve heard in school or places of work about “Success Stories” and now, of course, from what we read or see on the internet and perceive to be successful.
We form an idea in our mind of “success” - what it should look like and what it could bring to our life. We have an idea of what we will feel and what can do once we are successful. And yet, so rarely do we actually take a step back and ask ourselves if the formula that we have always assumed meant success actually applies to our own life.
For example, if I spent my whole life aiming for a vision of success that includes financial wealth, and yet continually chose professions which would not give me the necessary salary to match this vision of success, I may live my whole life believing that I am not successful – simply because I didn’t earn enough money.
If my idea of success involves having a family of 5 and being able to take monthlong camping trips every summer – and yet I am working in a job which requires me to be onsite and present 50 weeks a year with little room for time off – I might feel like I’ve somehow failed.
Imagine how disappointing that would be. To live your entire life believing you are a failure simply because your vision of success (based on someone else’s needs) didn’t match your reality.
As I’ve evolved in my own personal and professional development, my idea of success has changed drastically. I’ve let go of old models and patterns which I held on to about success and started to define what it really means to me.
Today, success for me involves working with clients who I admire, feeling creative energy and passion every day I work, and being able to set my work time, days, and locations flexibly so that I work and live where I am most inspired and connected to myself.
In essence, defining what success means for you gives you the freedom to design a life that enables you to be successful.
I challenge you to think about how successful you feel in your life. Does this vision of success truly match your imagined future? What, if anything, needs to change?
Amanda is a leadership coach and animal lover on a mission to humanize the workplace. She empowers people clarify their vision and unlock their potential to make transformational change.