Success is a huge word. It means so many different things. It affects us whether we’re juggling our careers, studies, parenthood, creative projects or even our own health. Success can be a real driver to get things done or reach a certain benchmark in our lives. So why is it important to define your success before you move towards what you want from different corners of your life?
We’re told what success looks like…From an early age it’s about being successful. Whether it’s learning to walk or being successful at saying our first words. Success is about survival. We all live in cultures where success is important. It’s part of daily life. You can’t hide from it. That’s even more reason so start thinking about your own definition of success. Now that I’m forty, I know my definition of success looks very different to when I was in my early twenties and thirties.
Don’t let comparison culture cloud your version of success….I often talk about comparison culture with friends and coaching clients. It’s so natural to compare ourselves to those around us whether it’s online or offline. So where possible, remember you can’t always compare yourself to what others are achieving or what’s making them successful. It comes back to everyone having their own story which I chat more about later on.
Success can be about the small things too…It’s easy to assume success means big things. Many people strive for big things – maybe things that are more tangible or visible. That’s fine but make sure your definition of success is relevant to your lifestyle and values. Don’t ignore the smaller successes or one’s you didn’t expect. They could end up being the most important ones. Oh and talking of values…
It’s about what you’re about…Your values are so important when you’re focused on attaining achievements. What’s really important to you? Success isn’t always about things but about feelings too. If you strip away the material things in life what is it that really makes you happy? Is it your health or just being happy? Is it about helping others? Is it about having fun or just smiling each day? Jot down five values that are really important to you.
It’s not always where you end up…Depending on what we’re talking about, I believe it’s not always about the end goal by what you achieve along the way. That’s what leading mindfulness expert Dr.Tamara Russell talked about at January’s Lucky Things Meet Up. If we’re too focused on goals we forgot about our experiences and successes along the way. We forget to think about how things felt. Tamara encourages us to think more about intentions rather than goals. You can read more about how thinking of intentions can help you right here.
What comes first, success or happiness? Many people assume success creates happiness. I think it’s the other way around; if you’re happy then you will feel more successful. Success can also be a short-term feeling. That might be right for you but don’t rely on it if it’s your main driver of happiness.
Your life, your story…You have to recognise that your story and life will be always unique. That means your journey and steps towards success will also be unique. A business founder I respect reminded me to “stay in your lane” the other week. She reminded me that I need to stick to my approach and plan; not to be tempted to jump into other people’s lanes and worry about what they’re doing. I’ve realised that the jigsaw pieces of our story as a little family are defining what success is for us and our children. Our experiences, whether they’re the ups or downs will help us realise what success really looks like.
For us, our IVF journey was successful. Our lives would be very different if we didn’t experience this success. I think I would have really struggled not being able to be a mummy. I had always imagined having kids. That was how I defined my version of success for a long time. Going through IVF has certainly my shaped my definition of success. It has given me perspective on what parts of our lives really needed to feel successful.
Is success always about winning? Over my career, I’ve loved receiving recognition for my work. I’ve been brought up in a fairly high-achieving culture. Maybe that’s why I prefer to be more of a collaborator instead of a competitor. Over the years, I’ve realised progress is just as important as success.
What do you think about success? What does success look like to you? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think too…