What Defines Success?

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?

Is Now:

  • 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.

Let Me Count the Ways…

When your mind is at ease, anything can happen.  And when something magical happens in that moment, say “yes.”

My sophomore year of college, I was invited to a birthday party.  It was for a friend of a friend that I hadn’t ever met before.  I contemplated not going, but decided it might be fun.  I was single, after dating a guy for much of the past year, and was perfectly fine with hanging out with friends.  I definitely wasn’t looking for “Mr. Right.”  I was then introduced, or maybe it was pushed into meeting, this guy sitting at the end of the table.

“You need to go and talk to him” my friend said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because I think you will like him” my friend responded.

Oh boy. Great.  Someone for me to “like.”  Just what I needed.

Needless to say, that first conversation didn’t go so well.  He didn’t appear to be interested in me, and I wasn’t either.  We both left at the end of the evening with barely a good bye, and probably expected never to see each other again.  We were wrong.  The very next week we were both invited to another birthday gathering, and were seated next to each other.  It was another non-eventful evening.  As I was leaving later that evening, my friend who invited me said that this guy wanted my phone number.  What?!?!  Why would he want my phone number?  I didn’t get the impression that either of us wanted to talk more.

To fast forward a bit, this guy that I was pushed into meeting, is now my husband.  What started as a uneventful beginning, turned into a beautiful love story.  He ended up calling me a week after that second meeting, and we talked for hours.

I love hearing how couples meet, and why they fell in love.  Their stores inspire me, and make my own story all the more special.  An unexpected meeting many years ago, has grown into something so amazingly profound.  When I think of all of the ways this man, this love of my life, has touched my heart and soul, the list could go on for days.  When I first met my husband, he wasn’t what I expected.  He was so much more.

Dale Flory, you have given me the greatest gift – your love.  You give me the confidence to be a better person.  You show me the meaning of family.  You support me through all of life’s curve balls.  You are an amazing Dad.  You don’t take life too seriously, and always have a way to make me laugh.  You are the one and only person I want to spend the rest of my life with.

I wanted to share this story with all of you to give you the perspective of saying “yes” when you can’t find a reason in the world to say “no.” Saying “yes” to this birthday gathering once upon a time, has given me a very happily ever after.

 

A Day to Celebrate

I have had the fortune to become friends with someone pretty special.  We met about twelve years ago, and through the years, our lives have changed dramatically.  We both became mothers, our careers have grown, and just this year we became business partners.

Today is a special day for her, as it is her birthday.  If you have developed a friendship with someone like this, then you will appreciate what a rare find this is in life.  The qualities that I admire about her are endless, but the best thing she brings to me is her ability to push me in directions that help me grow.

Allison Moore – you are a genuine, compassionate, loyal, trustworthy, hard working, giving, inspiring, loving gal that gets up at the crack of dawn to work out so you can give your best self to others.  You married your soul mate, and together are raising some pretty amazing kids.  You continue to look more beautiful with each passing year, and can not only rock a pair of four inch stilettos, but light up a room with your smile.

Today I celebrate you, dear friend, and hope your birthday is as wonderful as you are!

Your Top 10

The Olympics have begun!  Every four years, I am amazed at the talent, strength and stamina that athletes give to these games.  Ranging in age from their teens to middle age, Olympians are focused  on one thing: their top performance.  They train daily for hours, they eat a regimented diet, and work on their mental preparation before giving it their all.

One of the events that amazes me the most is the Decathlon.  This event is a series of ten different events that include: running, jumping and throwing.  Several Olympians have achieved the coveted Gold Medal in the Decathlon, and have therefore deemed the title “The World’s Greatest Athlete.”  To achieve this level, an athlete must be good, okay exceptional, at these ten physical feats.

If you had to compete and use ten of your greatest strengths, what would they be?  Would they be physical, communicative, mental, or?  Every single person has a talent, but do you nurture that talent on a regular basis?  Like an Olympic athlete, we must exercise our talents to make them shine.  Dedicating time to practice and grow our talents is essential, and for most of us, can be worked into our everyday lives.  If you are an eloquent writer, start a blog.  If cooking masterpieces is your thing, set a date for a dinner party and create a menu that is out of this world.  Our talents can be shared with others to provide mutual benefit, and by doing so you create an environment of the “World’s Greatest (insert talent here).”