Success is that all encompassing, top of the mountain, finish line word that tends to define us and our efforts. It can bring us unsurmountable joy, and ego shattering defeat – and sometimes at the same time. Success is a journey, and how it shows up for you isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.
About ten years ago, my friend and business coach, Jay Pryor, led me through a discussion about success. They encouraged me to think back to a time in my childhood when I felt successful. Was it acing a test, scoring a goal, or getting accepted into a group or program? All of these examples show different types of skills, effort and engagement. More than likely, we aren’t successful in all areas, and sometimes our successes aren’t even large enough to get noticed by others. The purpose of this activity was to identify what success felt like to me, and what physical and emotional cues showed up when success was achieved. Was it an adrenaline rush, a sense of personal pride, an “atta girl” by others?
So why is success so important? Should we be seeking success all the time?
My answer to these questions is entirely dependent upon your personal goals, aspirations and how you want to feel when you put your head on your pillow at the end of the day. Success can be having a productive conversation with your teenager. It can look like having those around you achieve their goals, and being their strongest supporter. It could come in the form of a simple “thank you.”
I want to do a simple activity with you. Write down a few things that fit under each category below. I’ll give you some questions to get you started.
Once Was (what did your life look like 10 years ago):
- What was your job / occupation at this time?
- What did your home life look like?
- How were you spending your time?
- How did you feel physically and mentally?
- What role did money play in your life?
- What did success look like to you?
- What is your job / occupation?
- What does your home life look like?
- How do you spend your time?
- What does your physical and mental health look like?
- What role does money play in your life?
- What does success look like to you now?
Can Be (what will life look like for you in 10 years?):
- What job / occupation do you want?
- What would you like your home life to look like?
- How would you like to spend your time?
- How do you want your physical being and mental health to look?
- How much money do you need to accomplish your goals?
- What defines success?
By writing down these reflections, I think you will be surprised at how much you have accomplished. Ten years is a long enough time to see growth in yourself, and plan for growth in the future. Notice I said “growth” and not success? The goal here is to get you into a growth mindset, and the success will come naturally.