With the beginning of a new year people tend to reflect on their life. Where are they going? Where have they been? What's worked and what hasn't. What happens next. I think we all strive for success, some more than others. But in the end, we want to look back on our lives and say ,"Yes, I was successful".
The common answer for "What is success?" is usually equated to making money. Lots of money. Ridiculous amounts of money. Success equals riches. But hopefully after reading today's article, I hope you will view things a little differently.
So what is success? I'm going to tell you. And I think you might be surprised by my answer.
Success Is Perception. You're idea of success and someone else's idea of success could be completely different. When you look at other people's lives and are perhaps unimpressed with what they have achieved you may be shocked to find that they are gleefully happy with the abundance of success they've had. Something as regular as cooking a meal for a large number of people comes as second nature to a person that comes from a large family or works in a restaurant, but could have been a major challenge for the new bride that is taking on Christmas dinner for her new in-laws and her own family. If she doesn't serve the turkey raw or the potatoes lumpy and keeps the tiered cake on top of each other, that... is success.
Success Is Personal. Success can only be found by pursuing your own dreams, not by following the dreams others force on you. Meaning, you and only you can decide what success means to you. I met a man once who became a doctor. His father was a doctor, his brother was a doctor his grandfather was a doctor, even his daughter was studying to be a doctor. He had his own practice, the nice home, the nice car and all the other cushy stuff that comes along with it. By anyone else's standards, he was a success. But by his own, his was living his father's dream for him. He wanted to work on cars. Rebuild cars. It wasn't until he gave up his practice to "retire" and built a garage in his backyard and started to rebuild his first car, that he considered himself a success. His path to "success" was a long time coming.
"Success is when you've reached a personal goal."
- Katherynn Bourgeret-Caldwell
Your vision of success is completely your own. You may achieve the exact same thing as someone else and not feel anything, because it wasn't what your idea of success was. You're idea of success may be as simple as a balanced checkbook, filling up your day planner with activities or owing a Lexus. Whatever you have in your mind that is success, will have a greater impact on you than fulfilling someone else's goal list. (Which is why they say if you don't have a goal for yourself, you'll be helping someone else reach their goal!)
Success Is Satisfaction. There is no point in being rich if you can't enjoy it. I'm sure you've heard of the people who've "made it". They reached that such-n -such dollar amount and are considered successful, but they are so busy working that they can't even enjoy their success! If making more money is going to be your idea of success then absolutely, go for it! but I can't help but feel that you're are more likely to enjoy the "rich" part if you enjoy the getting there part. Do what you love and you will be "rich". Know when it's enough. Don't lose your happiness for the sake of your success.
"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get."
- Dale Carnegie
"Success is measured by your happiness and not the material things you have in your life."
Success Is Happiness. The truth is, we have little successes everyday. As we lay our head on our pillows at night, if we were only to take a moment and reflect on the things that happened that day, I wouldn't be at all surprised if we found many, many successes that we just forgot to celebrate. If you are pushing and pushing toward a goal and it has lost it's happiness factor, perhaps it isn't for you. Even if it's something mundane and unexciting as eliminating debt, it should still bring you some joy. It might mean that you have to work extra hours, (not fun) or cut back on your spending (also not fun) but if you don't feel a sense of accomplishment watching that big overwhelming number get smaller and smaller, then it's not bringing you happiness. And you should perhaps find another way to reach that goal.
If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, your large goals are made up of smaller, achievable, daily goals. Learn to recognize the daily successes you reach and be happy. It's not worth it in the long run if it steals your happiness.
"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you'll be successful."
Success Is Sharing. Success can be learned. We are not all born knowing that we can have all the things we want if we just go after them. Some have been trained that you get what you get and that's all there is. That makes me so sad. There are hundreds upon hundreds of examples out there of people who came from nothing and have made something of themselves. They became successful. They could go to sleep at night knowing they did what they needed to do to feel successful.
Success is Action, Determination, Passion... success is all those things but it is also learned.
One of the best ways to enjoy your success is to share it with others. Don't keep it all to yourself. Teach, help others to rise up from where they are and be the person they want to be. When you help others get to where they want to go, the universe gives back to you. And while that may sound like mumbo-jumbo, I promise you that it is fact.
Be grateful for your successes. And make sure the people around you, the ones that helped you get there know how much they mean to you. Give. Share. Teach. Show gratitude.
"Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success is how you treat other people. Your family, friends, co-workers and even strangers you meet along the way."
Success Is A Continuous Journey. Success should never be considered a one way street. It's more than one street. It takes alleys and intersections, mountains and valleys. It goes up and it goes down. It is never-ending. One success will lead to another. You're constantly building and growing and learning. And when you reach your life goals... make new ones. Keep doing the things that work. Cut out the things that don't. Nothing stays the same. Be flexible and always hunger for more. If you reach your life's goal and then quit, watch and see how fast everything will unravel! You have to stay in the game. Keep moving. Keep growing. Keep setting new goals.
"Success is not final: failure is not final; it is the courage to continue that counts."
Success Is Balance. To me, this is the meaning of success. You can have it all, and you should strive for that.
Money - Happiness - Family & Friends - Security - Health - Peace of Mind - Hope
You need all these things to be balanced and feel successful. Take even one off the list and you are thrown off-balance.
If you have all the money you could ever want, but you have lost your family in the process, that is not success.
If you have the biggest mansion on the street but have worked yourself to near death, and you are alone, that is not success.
If you stole the money to get that need met, you would have it, but you would no longer have peace of mind. You'd always be looking over your shoulder, wondering when you'll be caught. That is not success.
You have reached your goal but have lost everything else in the process and finally you lose hope. That is not success.
We all know examples of the above stories. The news and celebrity magazines are covered with them.
Balance is the key to success. You need happiness, health, enough money to not have to worry, security, friends and family, when you lay your head down at night you have peace of mind and hope. You need a little bit of all these things to find true success.
Not everyone's list will be prioritized in the same way, but every one of these needs should be met for a balanced, successful life.
If you are struggling to make ends meet, then I can see how finances would be top of the list, but don't sacrifice the other items to secure more money. There is nothing wrong with wanting money. There is nothing wrong with wanting lots of money. The problem comes when that's your only focus, and it will cost you in the long run.
Your list will change in its order, but if you find happiness in each of these, you will be truly successful indeed.
"What money can't buy...
Money will buy you a house, but it won't buy a home,
Money will buy you a companion or followers but it won't buy you a friend,
Money will buy you a bed, but it won't buy you a good night's sleep,
Money will buy you a good time, but it won't buy you peace of mind."
Coming soon, I'll discuss the critical success factors to help you reach every goal on your list!! Be sure to stay tuned and check back often!