We live in a culture that values hustle, achievement, and perfection, and sometimes, that’s the lens we look through to feel successful. But the truth is, you may already be successful in so many ways, and simply not seeing it with your current filters. So below is a little love note for anyone who wants (or needs) to be reminded that they’re absolutely, undeniably crushing it—even outside of the timelines, metrics, or ideals they have for themselves.
In this article, write your own definition of success and give yourself credit for all the ways you are worthy as a human BEING… and not just a human DOING.
P.S. Prefer to listen? Check out Episode 28 of the Bright Life Podcast: How to Create Your Own Definition of Success in a Culture Obsessed That Favors Hustle and Achievement
Creating Your Own Definition of Success
In a world that seems to glorify constant hustle and achievement, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the pressure to always be pushing harder, aiming higher, and reaching for the next big goal. We’re often caught up in the whirlwind of timelines and expectations we set for ourselves, and the fear of not measuring up can be paralyzing. But what if I told you that there’s a different way to look at success? A way that allows you to find fulfillment and contentment even in the midst of uncertainty and imperfection?
Success Beyond Achievement
Recently, I found myself in a state of overwhelm. I had set a lofty business goal, complete with a detailed timeline for achieving it. But despite my efforts, things weren’t going according to plan. The frustration was building, and I felt an urge to keep pushing harder.
I shared this with my business mentor. And to my surprise, instead of encouraging me to double down on my efforts, she gently redirected my focus. She pointed out ways that the intense striving and pushing were actually causing resistance in various aspects of my life and business. Rather than piling on more to-do’s and pushing myself to the brink, she encouraged me to take a step back.
She asked me: “Do you still feel successful at this stage of your journey, even if you don’t hit your business milestones?” I teared up when she asked me this, because I realized how I had unintentionally conditioned myself to believe that success was only synonymous with achieving.
When in reality, I had so much success in other, more important areas. A happy marriage. Fulfilling friendships. Loving client relationships. My health. I felt successful for being brave enough to leave Corporate America to start a business to begin with—regardless of any timelines or outcomes.
Success Beyond the Present
Imagine looking back on your life when you’re 80 years old. What would you want to see? It’s unlikely you’d be counting achievements or regrets; rather, you’d want to remember the moments of joy, love, connection, and self-discovery. This perspective can help us reconnect with the essence of what truly matters.
In the pursuit of success, we often overlook the small victories. It’s not just about promotions, numbers, or external validation. Success can be found in nurturing relationships, being present for your loved ones, showing kindness to strangers, and finding joy in simple pleasures. It’s about finding contentment and fulfillment in being who you are, rather than constantly striving to become something more.
It’s time to rewrite your own definition of success. Is success truly about reaching a certain position, age, or financial status… or is it about the person you become in the process? Reflect on your values, your passions, and the kind of life you want to live. There is no right or wrong answer, so if success really is purely achievement-based for you, that’s OK. But I invite you to intentionally choose a definition of success that feels truest to you—instead of the one you’ve been given.
Most likely, your 80-year-old self won’t be concerned with the minutiae of your goals and achievements. She will value the moments you lived, the love you shared, and the authenticity you embraced. Sounds like a solid definition of success to me. What about you?
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