What is success? Success in the truest sense is a very personal thing. It’s not uncommon to fall into the trap of letting others tell us what we must do to be successful or deciding for others what success should mean to them.
Parents do this as do spouses. Friends do this as do bosses. Neighbors do this as do clergy.
In the early 90’s I worked for a very large corporation with offices around the globe. I really enjoyed my job in the marketing department. I was able to interact with co-workers and clients, vendors and potential vendors. All was good in my world. That is until I decided to let someone else define my ideal for success.
My current boss went to great pains to convince me I needed to learn programming if I wanted to succeed. Although I didn’t feel a calling for this my boss encouraged me to register for night classes. Against my better judgment I did.
It didn’t take but a few minutes into the first class for me to know this was not for me. Despite the nagging feeling in my gut I talked myself into staying.
I struggled through the classes cringing at the thought of doing this for the rest of my life.
After a few more months of rolling up my sleeves, buckling down and being miserable I decided to admit the truth. Getting a degree in program was not my definition of success.
Not that programming is a bad thing. There are plenty of people who love it and are great at what they do. I’m not one of them.
Needless to say my boss was disappointed. I’m convinced this put a wedge between us.
If I would have had the courage to say no from the beginning things would likely have turned out different.
How often do we find ourselves doing something because someone else thinks we should or we are afraid to hurt their feelings at the expense of chipping away at our truth?
As previously mentioned, success is a very personal thing. Only you can know for you what it means.
Another common trap is to base our definition of success on what someone else is doing. There’s nothing wrong with admiring the success of another, but admiration does not necessarily equate to needing to do the same thing.
So how do you define success? What would your life be like if you had true success? What would the evidence be? What would be different than what you are currently experiencing?
Many people equate success with outward evidence. Most would agree there is much more to it than externals. Not that there is anything wrong with material success, but there are other areas to consider.
What about health, emotions, spiritual awareness, relationships and contribution? The fact is, the more you can get a sense of what success means in all areas of your life the more likely it is you will achieve what you desire.
Yet, our definition of success and the experience of what we defined may not at all match what we thought it would be. Moreover, (and this is where it can get very tricky) our vision of success may not be what is meant for us.
In the coming year, you will have plenty of opportunity to explore areas that will fulfill you. Are you willing to honor this? Only you know for sure.