What is success?

When you think about success, what comes to mind? How do you define it? Do you rate yourself as being successful based on the societal norms of having things such as an impressive career, luxury goods, a big family or lots of money? How do the people around you define it?

Have you ever paid attention to and really celebrated your successes? What if you acknowledged all of your successes, even (and especially) the small ones? If you haven’t defined success as personal victories, what would it mean for you if you were to give yourself permission to recognize all of it?

Part of the beauty of recognizing all of your success is that, with regular attention and appreciation, you might just surprise yourself by seeing how often you actually are successful. In the process of doing so, you just might dramatically shift your mood, your outlook on life, and your perception about who you are. Your self-confidence might just get a really nice boost too, and who couldn’t use some of that?

In our world, we’re trained from an early age to focus on what’s wrong. We’re tuned in to all the mistakes we’ve made, all the failures, and all the ways we could be doing better. Rather than being focused on all that needs to change or be fixed, what if you could reframe all of it to be looking through the lens of, “hmmm, what did I do right there?”

Personally, I equate success with happiness and personal fulfillment. In my own journey, I didn’t appear outwardly successful according to society standards for many years, but I knew that for me, a decade ago, healing a lifelong depression at its very roots was the single biggest success of my life. Walking down the street, no one would know that. I didn’t have a luxury car to show for it, swanky things, or even any sort of career success at the time, but I knew that inside, a major victory had happened. It was the beginning of my life.

I encourage you to begin a notebook where you jot down your victories and successes. It’s a place to compile all the positives that are right there in front of you that you may not have noticed. Where have you not given yourself credit for your success? Where have you minimized them?

I define ultimate success as reaching a 10 out of 10 in every life sector according to your own evaluation, not someone else’s. Here is an example of the life wheel. Rating yourself in every area of life may help to point out the places that need attention, but also to highlight what’s right in your life.

What aspects of your life do you engage in that flow smoothly? Do you acknowledge yourself for those things? What personal challenges have you overcome that you haven’t fully embraced and celebrated?

For example, a way to look at well-balanced success may be to assess your life wheel and note things that are true for you, such as:

Family and Friends –
* I’m in a pretty darn healthy long-term relationship
* My communication and conflict resolution skills rock
* I help others by listening and being supportive
* I get my kids off to school every day and we’ve created a good routine around the mornings

Personal Growth –
* I regularly contribute my time or money to charities
* I meditate or do yoga on a somewhat regular basis
* I tried rock climbing this year

Health –
* I’ve gotten back to the gym this year
* I finally went to see the doctor about that nagging pain
* I took a Pilates class

You get the idea. It’s easier than you think when you expand the notion of success. Give it a try and see how you feel after writing down or even just naming aloud all that’s working in your life.

What would it take to open up the possibility that you might already be more successful that you’d ever imagined? Who would you be if you considered yourself a success? How might your life be different?

Here’s to you. Here’s to celebrating all of your success!



One response to “What is success?

  1. I like this approach. Now to put it into practice!

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