Every day, clients walk into my office, frantically begging for help overcoming their obstacles to success. But when I ask what success looks like to them, they just stare at me blankly.
I’m continually amazed at how little thought people give to one of the main things running their lives. We’ve all been told from an early age that we need to become successful. We’re striving, juggling and struggling to get there.
But few of us have any idea of what success means to us. So we just accept society’s default of struggling for money and recognition. And, while that’s all well and good, it’s someone else’s story.
We won’t be happy with what we achieve if it wasn't true what we wanted in the first place.
Want to reframe your relationship with success? Follow these five tips to know where you’re headed:
1. Dare to dream.
Whenever I daydream, I always notice that I’m laughing. It doesn’t matter if my dream has me seated at a business table or on my ideal date. So my version of success has got to be filled with fun and laughter. Notice how you daydream and what it is that you really value in life, not what society expects of you. Once you know what you really want, instead of what you think you want, you can start heading there.
2. Trust your gut.
We have this miraculous barometer of success called happiness. The happier you are doing something, the closer it is to helping you get to success. The more miserable you are, the more you’re missing the mark. So use your own emotions to understand if this is moving you in the right or wrong direction.
3. Attach to your values, not your outcomes.
The biggest barrier to success is letting a temporary failure slow you down. But if you start viewing end-results as simple outcomes of decisions, you begin to see them more as learning experiences and less as measuring sticks. When you stay true to your values, you will always be successful and working towards the life that you want. Minor success and failures will come and go, but your values will help you weather the storm.
4. Cut the comparison addiction.
You can’t compete with anyone else if you’re both playing different games. One of the greatest benefits of defining success for yourself is that you make the rules — and they’re probably a heck of a lot different from those of the next guy or gal. So determine what success will look like for you and then wish everyone around you the best of luck. Because their successes or failures have no bearing on you; you’re headed in different directions.
5. Differentiate between the end result and the process.
The road to success is a winding one, and it’s easy to get lost in the bushes of frustration and stress. It’s important to remind yourself of the end result the whole time and not get caught up in the process. If the process isn’t serving your end-result goals, pick a different process. There’s no point working 80 hours a week and traveling away from your family if your end-goal is to spend more time with them.
We get so caught up with the idea of success that we forget why we’re doing it in the first place. Like money and health, success isn’t the final destination: it’s just a vehicle — a vehicle to happiness.
So make sure to create happiness on your own terms. Because you’re the only one who is living your life.
And you deserve the life you’ve always dreamed of. The one that is wholly yours. The one worth living for.