What is the best definition of success? Well, the better question would be, what is your definition of success? Because the real definition of success is whatever you think it is. But I am coming to find out that many people don’t know what that is for themselves.
So, why would you want to know your definition of success?
Because if you want success in your career or life, you’ve got to be able to define it. Otherwise, someone else is defining it for you. So think about what success means to you. Do you know? Because most often, we are so busy being busy that we don’t give ourselves time to think, and that thinking time is critical for us to move forward to whatever our next level is.
If we have a design of what we want things to be in our life, career, business, and leadership, then we have a map to follow. We know what is aligned for us and what isn’t when we understand what our definition is.
We have a lot going on personally and professionally, yet we are one person. So, if you find yourself busy and chasing everything, you might not necessarily be chasing the right things. Or you might not be focused on the things that will bring you the joy, fulfillment, or success you want, mainly because you haven’t bothered to define them.
I had the opportunity this summer to facilitate roundtables for credit union executives and conduct self-leadership trainings for multi-million-dollar women business owners and emerging bank leaders. So definitely a broad spectrum of professionals, and I’ve asked them, what is your definition of success? It was something that made them all stop with pen in hand and think. Often the answer was, I don’t know.
So, how can you find what success means to you?
The starting place is thinking consciously about what success means to you, and I’m going to share some strategies to help you move forward with this.
You also need to know that 95% of your thinking is unconscious during the day. So out of the thousands and thousands of thoughts, we have during the day, we are only aware of such a tiny percentage of them. But when you define what success means then you can engage the reticular activating system. The reticular activating system is a way to sort incoming sensory information so that you are focused on finding what you want
I’ll give you an example of how this works. So, for instance, if I am considering getting a new car, I start thinking about the car I want. I drive an Audi, so I’m thinking about an E-Tron next – their electric model. Now that I’ve planted the E-Tron in my head, I’m out and about in my current car, and I start seeing charging stations. I start noticing them more frequently because I’m thinking about an electric vehicle. Next, I start seeing the electric Audi vehicles in the color I want! It seems like they are everywhere! I am seeing them because I planted the seed in my mind and said, “this is what I want to find.”
That’s how your unconscious works, and that’s why it’s important to define what success means to you. When you do, you plant the seed of what you want to find, and your unconscious works to find ways to bring it to you.
Start by asking the question.
Write down the question, what does success mean to me? Then, writing out whatever comes to mind. List everything you can think of in answer to answer that question. Don’t judge or change anything that comes up; just write as much as you can.
Also, it’s important to note that this is not a one-and-done question; this is an evolving question. This is you planting the seed in your mind saying, what is it that I want to find, and that is like opening a door that can’t be closed. Answers will keep coming to you because there are many ways that you can find success on your terms. You have choices and options. Isn’t that great?
Let me give you an example, I’m a keynote speaker, and there are many ways you can build a speaking business. There are keynote speakers who make a million dollars or more a year in their business, and they are on the road speaking at 60, 70, or more events a year. Initially I think, oh, I want to be a million-dollar speaker! And then suddenly I see what it takes to be a million-dollar speaker, to be on the road that much and I think, okay, that’s not aligned with my definition of success. Because especially after this year, it is so important for me to have time with my family and to have time with my friends. Now my definition is becoming more refined. I get to make choices, and so do you.
So I want you to consider your definition of success and start defining it.
Now that you’ve planted the seed.
I want you to consider your other areas of life. Because, again, you have a professional life and a personal life, but you’re one person.
Usually, career is a big one. Career is whatever it is that we do for work. It’s how we build wealth, generate wealth, pay our bills, etc. But then there’s spirituality. Spirituality may be organized religion for you; maybe it is a connection to spirit or the divine or a relationship with your higher self, that ultimate parental spirit.
It could be family that’s really important, and family is however you define it. Family can be you, a spouse, a significant other, a partner, or an extended family. But, again, you get to define it.
Health and fitness. Health and fitness are whatever you can do to improve your physical body. That was a game-changer this past year. I donated 60 pounds back to the Universe because if I do what I love, then I have to have the physical body to do that. So, that became one of the areas of life that became really important to me.
Relationships. Relationships are however you define them. It could be a spouse, a partner, or a significant other. Or, if you don’t have an intimate relationship like that, then maybe it is close friends, best friends, or something like that. But, again, you get to define it.
And then personal development. Personal development is whatever you do to improve yourself as a person outside of health and fitness.
So, thinking of those areas of life, career, spirituality, family, health and fitness, relationships, and personal development, what are the three that you want to focus on?
Because three is doable. So when you consider your definition of success, consider what these two or three areas of life look like when they’re ideal. What do they look like? How do you know when they are ideal?
When you start thinking about this, you start defining success for you. And then all of a sudden, when you’re clear on this, you are moving forward towards that because you planted the seed in your mind and said this is what I want to find. You’ll have more opportunities to see it, and you’ll choose in favor of yourself and the highest and best version of you.
Going forward, pay attention to what comes to you so you can continue to define what success means for you. And also notice when this definition changes, when something happens that is awesome, and you want to add to your definition, and then maybe something happens that isn’t so awesome, and you know you need to change your definition.
Until the next time, here’s wishing you all the clarity you deserve and as much success as you can define and find!