Traditionally the word success has been used to describe someone’s business, financial or material status as a representation of how far she has come, and what she has achieved in life. The more the better, so to speak.
If you can be perceived as ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ with the luxury car, the perfect house, husband, 2.5 kids, be well dressed and travel first class to exotic locations, you were deemed a ‘success’ or at the very least, have a ‘successful’ life. But is that still the case in 2015?
With the influx of savvy capable women choosing to build her own path such as, starting a business, follow her passions, travelling more, electing not to have a family etc… our understanding and appreciation of what success means is shifting, but unfortunately, it’s still very easy to get caught up in the idea of needing to thrive and strive to achieve success.
I hazard a guess that many women who juggle the modern-day work/life/family balance could tell you what success looks like to them, because the word itself is still very entrenched in the male-dominated view of power, financial riches and all the best things in life.
Honestly, I no longer want to be a success if it’s measured by this patriarchal view of life.
Why? Because that’s not how I perceive a successful, meaningful life.
As Helen Keller once said, “What I’m looking for isn’t out there, it’s in me.”
If one starts a business to make money and be an Instagram success story, she will inevitably fail. While making a profit and supporting yourself and your family is very important, starting a business or choosing a career and lifestyle with the only intention of making money and being a success wont light up you heart and create any real meaning at all.
There will always be something else to get, buy, conquer, acquire and be. How fulfilling can that endless struggle be?
However if you develop your own definition of success, that aligns with your goals, values and heartfelt purpose in life you’ll strike gold because it comes from within you.
With that in mind, let’s approach the question again. How do you define success? What does your ultimate life look like? Grab your journal or pen and paper and follow these tips to help define success:
- What vision do you have for your life?
Picture your life in year. What does the ideal day look like? Where are you, what are you doing, who are you with?
- What does success look like?
If you turn around at 80 years of age to review your life, how would you want to be remembered and what impact do you want to leave behind?
- Are your professional goals aligned with your personal goals and values?
If one outweighs the other how much are you willing to sacrifice? It might be time to readjust your goals so both work in unison, otherwise, you’re likely to struggle to find the balance you seek.
- Keep a journal.
Get real, get honest and get clear. When you can clarify your vision, why you want to achieve it and what it will mean to you in the future you are more likely to connect with it on an emotional and spiritual level in order to take steps towards achieving it (i.e. it will mean more to you than just something else on your to-do list). Writing down your hopes, dreams, fears and anxieties can go along way to helping you cultivate more gratitude for your life as well as manage and release issues you may have boiling under the surface.
Over the years you may find your definition of success varies as you grow, learn, experiment and play, but that doesn’t make your life now any less successful.
Quiet simply, your goal posts will change and success will no longer feel like an intimidating goal to strive for, developed by someone else.
Let us know in the comments below. How do you define success and are you following this path?