What Does it Mean to be 'Successful?'
Viewing Success in an Online World of Social Interaction and Constant Comparison
Success, recognition, approval, money, admiration, freedom, power - these are just a few of the words that come to mind when I think of what it means to have 'made it.' But then I think, is this what success really is? Even looking up a header image for this blog post, I was scrolling through the image bank, and the image tags for 'success' were so varied - from pictures of people high-fiving on mountain tops, to perfectly preened suits in the boardroom. Success, in my opinion, is not definable, because it should be personal to you, and I think the construct of this 'success' is changing more and more.
Disclaimer: this isn't a post on how to become a success or make your millions, more to make you think a little harder about what you are ultimately striving for, and what it means to you.
How Will You Know When You Have 'Made It?'
I think it's important to look at your core values, at what really makes you tick as a person and feel fulfilled as a human being, because many of us seem to be striving for life goals that are not actually aligned with our core values, ultimately leading us to feel like we can't find true success. But what if success is much simpler than that? What if it actually looks quite different to what we originally anticipated?
Ways to Find Your Success Story
1. Identify Your Goals
Make a list of goals and enjoy the process of creating it, of dreaming it, of feeling the sensation of what it would mean to achieve them - this is how you identify your priority list, short-listing between the far-fetched day dreams, and the more realistic, or more viable options - financially, time-wise, and with energy expenditure in mind.
Hone in on the goals that bring you a sense of fulfilment, both in working towards them, and what achieving them would mean to you. Because you can't do everything at once, and you have to start somewhere.
Like any goal, you'll only reach it if you commit to putting in the work. That could be a tangible fitness goal, getting that work promotion, working on a relationship and getting to a healthier place - it all takes commitment.
4. Be Consistent
Consistency and attention span are things a lot of us tend to struggle with these days, what with the constant barrage of fresh information and bountiful, beautiful images as we scroll incessantly through our feeds. But the only thing that will show results and get you closer to your goal is being consistent with it.
"Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself; do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it." – Bruce Lee
Why Success is so Subjective
I just looked up 'success quotes' online to give a few examples of how this term is interpreted, because we all love an inspirational quote and a bit of motivation from time to time.
"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value." - Albert Einstein
And this brings me exactly to my point, of understanding what success means to you, and what you want this so-called success to bring. Ultimately, creating value will in turn bring about contentment, and I am not shying away from the fact that remuneration is an important factor here; we all need money in this life, but I don't believe that it should be the only/main driving factor when living your success story.
"Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose." - Bill Gates
An interesting take on success, which basically alludes to the fact that repeated success may actually cause the impression that you can't or won't ever be unsuccessful or lose at something, or that you won't ever need to find new ways to achieve your full potential. I mean, for the people consistently hitting the success mark, this may not feel like much of an issue, but I see where he is coming from - you've got to experience the losing part to appreciate the success story, no?
"I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed." - Michael Jordan
Now this quote makes sense to me, this resonates, because I work hard for the things I want in life, and sometimes I am riding that wave, but other times I am being churned underneath it, and it isn't so fun, and maybe in that moment I feel trapped, like I can't breathe, but I always come back up to the surface and try again for the next wave of my 'success' story.
Find the Meaning
I am not a guru trying to give you answers, but I am putting some words on electronic paper to give you something to mull over and have a think about next time you question your success story, or you compare yourself to someone flaunting it on Instagram. Because I think we should be focusing on the little wins, the things that we accomplish and then sideline because we have to get to the next big milestone. What about all the contributing successes that got you to where you are today?
Record Your 'Success' Story
Make a list of your big wins, of all the things that have created building blocks in your life, in your progress, in getting to where you are today. And keep this list, add to it as you create meaningful content for your life (and I don't mean Reels), so you can see what your success story looks like over time. And if you don't like where it is headed, then reassess your goals and refocus the strategy. Nobody said anything had to be set in stone, but you've got to stick at it to see tangible results.
If you need help creating this structure, click the button to book a consultation with me.