What is success? Are you successful if you are a stay at home mom? Is success about running a multi million empire? Are you clear about what success means to you and how you will clearly know when you have achieved it? When putting a plan together to work towards achieving a goal, or when working on longer term life plans, deciding what motivates you and creating a compelling vision that moves you towards it is an essential part of the process.
Another essential component is knowing exactly what success is in your own mind and what it will “look like” for you. It is very easy to continually work, work and work towards the achievement of something and never experience the fulfillment that comes with knowing you achieved your goal. Too many people complete a goal and then think, “What’s next” without even stopping to acknowledge and reflect upon their current success.
If you are one of those people who never stop to enjoy their success, or in fact if your definition of success is so high that you are not enjoying working towards it then you may find it useful just to stop and dedicate some time to finding your definition of what success is for you.
A tip here! Do your best to not make success all about “stuff” e.g. a fancy car and a big house – think about who you will become, the people you will support and who will be in your life too.
For a few years now success for me has always been about following my heart, making a difference and living with passion. As long as I am doing one or all three of these things I am successful.
What will success look like for you?
If you are unsure about what success is for you then spend time brainstorming ideas! Just write them all down. If you can find someone to do this exercise with it just helps to provide you with even more ideas and make it more fun. Allow yourself at least an hour for this.
Remember not to censor what you are writing during a brainstorming session, you just want to put all your ideas down on paper for now, you will spend time later looking through them in more detail. Start by saying
I am successful when……..
Then make a list and see what shows up. I am successful when I find time for me, when I have the flexibility to do what I want, when my children grow up healthy, when money is available from investments etc. Set yourself a time of 15 minutes for this exercise and when you think you cannot write any more give yourself another few minutes. Most of the really useful information will flow from you when you relax and give yourself time; this is not something to be rushed.
When you find yourself repeating answers or you are unable to think of anything else then it is time to move on to the next stage. Now take a good look at your list and rate them. On a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being not important and 10 being extremely important) rate your list and then write out on a clean sheet of paper anything that falls into the top 7. Again, allow 10-15 minutes for you to do this without rushing.
Now with the seven items on your list (have more or less if you want, it’s your list!!!), rate them from 1-7. Which out of the seven is the most important definition of success for you? If you are unsure about which is the more important one, answer this question
If I can have x but I can’t have y does that matter?
So as an example, if I can make a difference but I have no money does that matter?
Of course we are working towards achieving both, but this will help you to determine which of the two should be ranked higher on your list.
Remember, this is a way of defining your success, so if making a difference is more important then rate it higher than money, if not rate money higher.
Go through each one until you have them in a 1-7 order, again allowing 10-15 minutes to complete this exercise.
You are close to the final stage; you are now going to create your definition of success as a sentence. You do not have to keep the 7 in the order you just ranked them, they can go in any order, but I recommend your top three are mentioned first if they are your most important ones.
Now spend 10-15 minutes creating a one or two sentence phrase that will sum up your very own definition of success. So as an example if my key success words were:
5.making a difference
6.leaving a legacy
7.time for me
My sentence may say something along the lines of:
Success for me is about having the peace, freedom and flexibility to earn money while making a difference, leaving a legacy and finding time for me.
Now you know that as long as you provide this for yourself you are successful. No more measuring you according to what “they” say! Whether you are a business professional or a stay at home mom you are both successful. Your definition of success may be radically different, but no matter, you can both experience success in your own right because you determine what success is. Even if you do not end up earning a six figure income or becoming a “guru”, you are still successful in your own eyes. And they are the only eyes that really matter!
YOU WILL NEVER BE HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU HAVE, UNTIL YOU ARE HAPPY WITH WHO YOU ARE