What is success? The images and messages of success today are more varied and widespread than ever before. It’s also likely accurate to state that in most scenarios we are our own worst critics.
I personally feel that success is based on what your goal is (given your particular environment and situation), not what others or society labels success as. What success is for you, your organization, your family, etc. could be very different than what it is for me, my organization, my family, etc.. For example, if your goal is to lose 20lbs this year, and you take the steps and actions and lose 20lbs then that is success for you. I have not lost 20lbs this year, so if I base my success on someone else’s goals and milestones I would therefore be deemed unsuccessful. Is that accurate, or even fair?
When you consider this specific example, it is pretty obvious that this comparison does not make logical sense. So why do we apply ‘blanket’ classifications of success in other scenarios? The desire to label and simplify into a bite-sized palatable definition of someone or something, leaves so much to interpretation, speculation, and the imagination that much is “lost in translation” as the cliché goes.
The element that is often ignored or rarely discussed when it comes to success is the feeling of success. I can set a goal, take the necessary actions to achieve that goal, but if I don’t feel as though I have succeeded then will I persist to the next milestone of success along that path. Take for example, running a marathon. I trained day in, day out for months to complete my first marathon. That feeling of accomplishment, euphoria, adrenaline upon crossing the finish line was incredible. I trained day in, day out, through extreme cold and snow in the winter of 2008 for my second marathon. The feeling of crossing the finish line this time was different than the first time, yet still incredible as I knew and understood the success and accomplishment. Not to diminish the accomplishment for myself or anyone who does complete a marathon, but for me, that feeling I am referring to had lessened from the first time. As such, the third marathon that I began training for was more about the fundraising that I was conducting in parallel to the physical training. The measure of success had to change for me personally, as I could feel the measure of success evolving and advancing for me. For someone else, the measure of success and growth could very well be completing 50 marathons. The key, which I believe is an important component to success is that feeling of success…which is even more personal than your personal goals. Lastly, I have yet to achieve that feeling of success twice under the exact same circumstances. That feeling of success is somehow linked to growth. Growth: which is somewhere that you have never been before.
So with this all said, where do we even begin? It is a tangled web of human complexity, emotion, and now on top of that I’m suggesting that this emotion needs constant evolution in order for it to survive!
1. Understand yourself first – examine your own emotions. I know, what a crazy thought! You need to identify that feeling of success within you. How does it feel? How do you recognize it? How do you know when it’s happening? Or when it isn’t happening?
2. Explore what types of activities result in that same emotional feeling within you. What are the vitamins in your life? What are the toxins in your life? What do you stand for? What do you stand against?
3. Identify where you want to go and what you want to achieve. Until you know what you are capable of and how those activities and accomplishments make you feel, you may be chasing something that just does not fit for you. You may be like I was, chasing yourself up the corporate ladder and not really understanding what goals and dreams you were chasing. After exercising the process of daily self-reflection and awareness I now know where I wish to head and why.
4. Monitor progress, celebrate milestones, and witness and feel that euphoria of success.
The practical and proven tool that will absolutely help you achieve this? Journaling! J
It’s not just for hormonal teenage girls. Want to learn more? Email Monica!