When I was 28, I defined success as being a profitable business owner. I was sure that if I owned my own business, where I defined the culture and could reap the benefits of my own work, I would be happy.
Three years later I was “successful.” I owned a software company with 13 staff, selling product in ten countries, and was making a good income.
However, I felt terrible! During that time, I was working 70 hours per week doing work I didn’t enjoy, and would come home every night feeling unfulfilled, exhausted and frustrated.
I had actually created a career prison because I wasn’t clear on what I actually wanted beyond being profitable and in charge of a company.
I learned the hard way the difference between an unexamined definition of success and a brand new way of seeing it that unlocked all the doors for me.
We are creators, storytellers, and dreamers.
We are human beings, not workers. It is our nature to turn our ideas into reality. When you are being yourself, you are continually imagining something you want for yourself or others and then enthusiastically creating it.
Think about the great moments in your life. Do they not ALL involve turning an idea or vision into reality?
The great vacation you are excited about, the amazing relationship you envision having, the surprise gift you imagine your loved one receiving.
We don’t always succeed in realizing our visions, but all great things start with a vision that inspires us.
So, what does this have to do with success?
The picture of success that we have created in our minds is the thing that will get turned into reality.
However, if that picture of success doesn’t match what we actually, truly want, and who we are, then we create a prison. We may be digging a hole instead of realizing our dreams.
That’s exactly what happened to me and many of my clients before they worked with me. Had I taken the time to discover what I actually wanted, and who I actually was, I would have realized that I was creating a prison for myself.
We all know that money doesn’t buy happiness, but there’s even more to redefining success than this. Here’s where most people fail at creating opportunities that actually make them happy:
When we don’t match our definition of success with who we truly are, then we will never achieve it, OR, when we outwardly get there, we’ll feel empty inside.
Given this, I’d like to propose a different definition of success that can transform your work, and as a result, transform your life.
Success is getting paid to be yourself.
In other words:
Success is getting to use your favourite talents and abilities in service of a vision that matches your purpose and core values, benefits the world, and you get paid to do it!
When this is your definition of success, your career has the greatest possible chance of taking off. This is because you are uniquely qualified to offer your unique talents, knowledge and skills to the world. You are the best in the world at being you! There literally is no competition!
Does that match your definition of success also? What has your definition been so far? How does it feel to imagine a different definition of success?
Following my experience with my software company, I realized I had to completely rethink my definition of success. I took a long time to do that, basically figuring it out the hard way. That’s a longer story that culminated in creating Positive Futures Career Coaching.
Today, my work is a perfect fit for my nature, what I’m great at, and how I want to live. I got there by getting crystal clear on who I am, what I want, and what my purpose is.
I’ve followed my vision of success and it allowed me to create a reality that is a perfect fit for who I am. So long as I’m true to who I am, I remain successful – which includes making a living. And I’ve helped many clients achieve the same thing.
Get clear on what you truly want (what success means to you) so that the career you envision and create is the one you actually want. Otherwise, you may achieve success only to realize it’s actually a hole you now have to climb out of.
You can adopt my definition of success or create your own. Once you have your definition, your job is to not settle for bare survival and living on the weekends. Define what matters to you, and then take the steps needed to create it.
If you’d like help discovering your personal definition of success that can lead you to the work you’re meant to be doing, I invite you to come to an upcoming workshop or book a Purpose Discovery Session today.