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.
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.