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Defining success on your terms

“What does success really mean in my life?” The only person truly equipped to answer that question is you. Some people might define success as having luxurious cars and a huge mansion, whereas some others consider a life full of joy and happiness with their family as the true meaning of success. Most people have different views on what being prosperous in life means, and end up defining success from very unique perspectives.

Although it is safe to assume that there can’t really exist a definition of success that is universal for everyone, it is very important that you know exactly how to define success in life. Once you have figured out what is important to you personally, you are then able to focus on your visions and goals more productively. In order to lead the life that you desire, you must set your own goals and idea of success according to what you want and not based on external pressure or expectations.

defining success

Ask yourself: What is success?

When defining success, its never a bad idea to start small. But how do you define it without selling yourself short? Is it getting up in the mornings and getting to the gym? Is it the To-Do list that you set out for yourself the day before? The purpose of defining your own success is to start living a life based on your own expectations and terms. The actions that bring you joy, a sense of accomplishment, service, and progress are where you should be investing your energy.

How do I achieve it?

Chances are, if it makes you happy and requires you to use your skills and effort, then you probably should be doing it everyday. The new phone or car — those are just temporary rewards; they won’t last. The moment you define what the meaning of success is to you, the only way to achieve it is to take the steps forward in accomplishing your goals or objectives. The moment you stop trying to constantly please others and meet their expectations, only then can you find joy in the things you are already doing — or will start doing. Write it out if you have to and define what success is to you. You can create both short-term and long-term goals. Its always advisable to use the SMART technique to goal setting.

Don’t Wait!

Once you are done defining success and what it really means to you, only then can you start achieving it daily and on your own expectations. Don’t wait to start living like this, start one day at a time. The more you strive to be better than yesterday, the more successful you will feel because of cumulative progress matters. You can feel it when working hard towards completing a project. You can see it when you reflect back on when you first started, and the leaps that you took to get to where you are today.

Hear from women in diaspora as they share how they attained success on their own terms.

Defining success on your own terms

For the most part, a lot of people take superficial factors into consideration when defining success. While things like fame, influence and money aren’t entirely a wrong measure for success, they are far from all that matters when weighing the level of success a person has been able to attain in their personal lives. We’ll begin by debunking the myth that there is a universal standard for measuring success – there isn’t, this is because defining success is relative to everyone’s individual goals and value systems. Success is the achievement of something that you have been trying to do, this could be in your career, academics or even a personal project, it’s a about finding a satisfying balance in your work life relationship, one that able to sustain your responsibilities, giving you options without necessarily leaving you perpetually overwhelmed.

Unpopular opinion

Success = financial stability + creative freedom + lifestyle design. 

Financial stability; means having control over your time, workload and income. It means you can sustainably earn the income you want without working more than you want.
Creative freedom; means working as much as you want, when you want, where you want and with whom you want.
Lifestyle design; means arranging work around your lifestyle, not the other way round. It means being able to prioritize your family, your health, your hobbies and still deliver great work.

Success without fulfilment is not success, if you are materially successful but spiritually bankrupt, that’s failure.
If you have attained a “high position” but at a detriment to your health and your relationships or if you are “greatly admired” but are plagued with self-loathing, that’s failure. Success feels and looks different for every single person. It’s not a destination but an ever-evolving journey and it doesn’t come with a map because there is no one path. Once you understand this, you can start designing your life based on what you want, not what you think you should do or what you think others expect of you. Everyone can begin defining success in their life on their own terms. It requires some deep thought, epic imagination, strategic planning, the courage to make some big decisions, and a whole lot of commitment.

A new yardstick

Getting on board with this new concept of measuring success can be a bit of a challenge for anyone considering  this alternative perspective for the first time. To help out, we’ve put together a list of self-help questions that can jumpstart your journey on this path. They are

  • What does success look like for you in terms of health and wellness, family and social life, holidays and hobbies?
  • Where do you spend your time day-to-day, week-to-week, and how do you spend it?
  • What does meaningful work feel like for you professionally? The keyword here is “feel”.
  • Are you the go-to expert in your niche?
  • Do you get to work in your zone of genius and enjoy your projects?
  • Have you earned a specific leadership position, or are you providing a livelihood for others by employing them through your company?
  • What kind of people do you work for and with? How do they inspire you?
  • Do you get to work on personal creative projects as well as client ones?
  • Do you get to switch off and step back from work whenever you want without everything crashing down around you?
  • What does financial success look like in order to be able to afford the lifestyle you want?
  • What’s your “more-than-enough number” that leaves you with plenty to save for the future and give back?
    Get really specific with the numbers. Think about revenue but also personal income goals, budgets for ideal savings, investments and charitable giving.

Use your answers to weave together what success means for you. Return to it regularly. Revise if necessary.
You’re likely to experience a mixture of excitement and doubt. Excitement at the prospect of building a life and business that is the catalyst for all these beautiful things. Doubt for daring to want such a big, juicy life so full of riches. The critical voice in your head might pipe up to say: Hey! Who do you think you are? And maybe you’ll even feel tinges of shame, because your situation right now is so very far away from where you’d like to be.
But by simply directing your attention to your own definition of success and approving of it, you will start to notice an overall sense of satisfaction and control concerning your life.

 

Watch our episode to learn how we consistently overcome challenges on our journey to success as African women in the United Kingdom