Let me tell you a quick story about a client. Let’s call her – Rachel.
- She’s 33.
- She’s made good money working for a top consultancy firm for close to 10 years.
- She has a fantastic husband, a beautiful home and a lot of friends.
- On the outside she seems to have it all including all the finer things that money can buy.
- She became interested in coaching not because there was anything wrong in her life by anyone else’s standards, but because although she’d realised many of her dreams, she didn’t feel like her life had any real purpose. Besides her husband, there was nothing that she was passionate about or that would get her leaping out of bed on a Monday morning.
- She felt like she wasn’t making a difference in the world.
And she’s not alone.
The sad reality is that most people are tip-toeing through life hoping to make it safely to death without losing too much, making big mistakes or being humiliated. Their journey includes waking up, getting through the day and going through the motions.
But then there are those of you who innately know that there’s more to life than the picture I’ve just described. If you’re one of those people whose soul is yearning for expression, experience and contribution, then read on.
So let’s start with the notion of success.
In the world today anyone would be forgiven for thinking that there is a generally accepted definition of success that involves being rich, thin, smart, famous or some combination of all of the above. These ideas have been engrained into our collective psyche so it’s not at all surprising that so many people buy into the fallacy.
But if you take a moment to try and quantify how rich, thin, smart or famous you think you would have to be to qualify as being ‘successful’, you soon start to see that the mere idea is conceptual vapour.
In reality, the chances are that the very people you consider to be successful are looking at someone else thinking the exact the same thing. This demonstrates that in reality, success is completely subjective; it means different things to different people at different times.
- To some it means being a full time and completely present parent;
- To some it means making it through the next round of chemo;
- To others it means waking up each day and living their purpose by producing artistic works that inspire people.
So since there’s no ONE definition of success the key is to get very clear on your own personal definition of success.
Remember the old adage,
“If you don’t know where you’re going then almost any road will take you there.”
Well, how often do you set out from your front door and not know where you’re going? Rarely, right? So, why would you be any less intentional in your life? Success in life is absolutely about having goals, but in order to attain those goals it’s important to learn how to focus on the process; on the now.
What do I mean by that?
Many of us have learned to define success primarily by whether we achieve our goals or not, but the success that most people are looking for in life is not going to come when you reach a certain point in time.
Think about it.
We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve set goals for ourselves and achieved them, only to find that the goal posts suddenly move the moment that we do and then you’re back to reaching for a new and more distant goal.
With a focus on an “end,” we all too easily dismiss the joys that can be found in our daily lives and overlook the fact that the choices we’re making aren’t actually in alignment with our overriding goal or value. You get caught in the trap of waiting for something to happen later rather than realising your own personal definition of happiness or success now.
So this week……
Think about your true goal, about your purpose in life and ask yourself a few questions:
- What is true success for me?
- Why is that important to me?
- What would I like to get out of my life? ; and
- If I was going to make a contribution and people were to remember me for something very important, what would it be?
Just for this week, ask yourself what actions you can take toward your idea of success today and begin to define and measure success not by the realisation of your goals but by your daily actions and enjoyment of the process towards them.
—With HUGE thanks to Bruce D Schneider