If I asked you what does a successful person look like, what do you think of?
Most people immediately think of people that are wealthy and have status. They have fancy cars and houses, and are powerful people. People who seem to have it all.
If I asked you what does success look like to you in your own life, what do you think of?
Do you really want to be like those wealthy, influential people who work extremely long hours, are responsible for the wellbeing of thousands of people who work for them and deal with stress and pressure every day of their lives?
Sure they may have more money than you can dream of, they may have stunning houses, travel the world and have fancy sports cars but when it comes down to it they work extremely hard, have little time for their families and next to no downtime. Is this really your ideal life?
The true meaning of success
There is nothing wrong with “having it all” however when you define what success looks like to you, you need to consider what is important to you. This means looking inside yourself and identifying what you need to feel fulfilled and content in your own life.
When you picture a life of happiness, you’ll notice that material goods, like owning a mansion, seldom play a big role. Most of the time happiness relates to feeling loved and spending time with good people, making a difference in your work or community, or doing things that you love like travelling.
This picture of happy life is not a byproduct of success, but represents what success means to you in your own life. You don’t need to be wealthy, influential or grace the cover of Time magazine to be successful.
Practical steps to redefining success in your own life
If you are unclear of what success, or happiness, looks like in your own life then you need to spend some time getting to know yourself. We often go through life on autopilot not really noticing the things that make us feel truly happy. If you want to get clear on what success looks like in your own life, complete a self-assessment.
Step 1: Define your values
Your values are at the core of who you are. They are your moral compass and tell you what you need in life in order to feel fulfilled and lead a meaningful life. As a coach this is one of the first steps I take with my clients before setting any goals so that they can ensure that their goals are right for them, and will bring them a greater sense of happiness in their lives.
There is no point in setting your sights on being the CEO of a multi-national who spends all their time at work when one of your core values is Family. Achieving this goal would not bring you happiness and therefore you would not feel like you are successful.
Step 2: Look to the past
Reflection is key to understanding what makes you tick. Reflecting on what you like and don’t like about your life right now and your past experiences tells you what you need to see more of in your life to feel good about yourself, and what you need to avoid or eliminate.
Remember your success is your definition of happiness so take note of all the things that make you feel contented in your life.
Step 3: Defining success
When you define success, you need to look at your life holistically. In other words focus on your work, home life, hobbies, health and relationships – everything that is important to you. A great way to define what success looks like in your own life is to write a life vision statement. (Contact me if you would like a life vision statement template).
Your life vision statement defines your ideal life. It provides a focus point which you strive towards in order to lead a happy, well-balanced life that makes you feel fulfilled. It is your personal definition of success.
Success is not an end goal. It is very easy to focus on the big picture and forget all the little accomplishments along the way however doing so means that you will always be striving for something, never really feeling contented with what you have achieved.
Being a success is achieving all those little things along the way on your journey to realising your life vision. Success is that first step you take, and the small wins like perhaps starting a new job role that opens the door to your dream job. Remember to reflect often and acknowledge all you have accomplished. This will make you feel like a success and give you the motivation to continue on your journey to your ideal life vision.