Are you Successful?
This week I was hell bent on understanding more about you. I want to know everything.
The ins and outs. The highs and lows. Every little pieces that has made you into the person you are today.
I wonder have we shared similar experiences in life?
This week centered on success.
The answers varied but an overwhelming majority of people stated that their definition of success was one that had evolved over time. Interesting, I thought. I wonder why? Through further analysis and at times what may have been considered harassment (on my own end) I found that most of my audience is like me. At some point in their life they decided to not follow the crowd and they chose to take a hard turn down a lonely road. By choosing their own path they became labeled as untraditional and that label followed them throughout life. Was it a self-imposed label? It could have been but that was something that only unfolded with time.
Webster’s dictionary defines success as “a favorable degree or desired outcome.” The definition in itself is ambiguous. Which is probably why as young women and men we’re never given the definition of success instead we’re given a blueprint on how to become successful.
The blueprint is filled with tedious steps. Only when we achieve the first one can we then transition and move forward to the second. And it continues over and over again. Yes the steps are simplistic, but as life unfolds each step becomes harder to achieve. First, we transition from high school to college. We then get married, buy a house and have children. Then we live a happily married life, retire and live a beautiful life as grandparents before I dare say it, we pass on.
But for most of us, having achieved these milestones or not having achieved them does not make us feel successful.
Therefore, success is not determined by achieving life’s traditional milestones as we’re told. With every milestone we achieve we still find ourselves searching for greater fulfillment. We then determine that success is not defined by how many steps we make up the ladder but instead it’s determined by how we feel when we’re moving through life’s transitions.
For most of us, our assets or achievements do not make us successful. While some of us desire labels, fancy cars and bigger homes in exclusive zip codes, we come to find that these don't bring the same feelings of success we imagined they would. What makes us successful is feeling loved, feeling like we belong where we are, that our life is filled with meaning and purpose and that with age with continue to grow and evolve.
In order to be successful one must live a life that is guided by their truth.
Well that doesn’t sound difficult, does it? But it is. And here’s why. Even though our heart knows what’s right that little inner critic, the insecure voice within, often speaks loudest when we’re stepping away from the crowd. It looks at others who are following life’s traditional milestones and prompts us to compare ourselves to them. We then wonder are we wrong for not being married? For not having children? For not having gone to college?
We know the answer. We’re not. But still our inner critic prompts us to go down the lonely rabbit hole of despair. Before we know it we’re the only thirty-year old woman (in the whole world) that’s not married, doesn’t have any children and has never been to college. Before we know it our inner voice has just reminded us that we’re an epic failure.
But we’re not! The real truth is we’re trailblazers throwing caution to the wind and creating our own path. But the role of the trailblazer can be a hard road to follow.
Most trailblazers are unaware of the power they possess. And with that they question and shame themselves. They tell themselves they’re wrong and that they don’t belong. They question their worth and compare themselves to others in the crowd. They say they don’t care but a subtle reminder will remind them that there’s something different about them and then they’ll feel shame all over again.
But with time, comes wisdom. And that wisdom provides the ability to see their journey and just how happy one can be. Success is no longer something that can be achieved by following a blueprint. Success is something that is found in your heart and those who are living a life that is filled with purpose feel successful.
So if you’ve yet to find what makes you feel successful I urge you to think about the experiences that have brought you to where you are today. Have they opened your eyes to the beauty that exists in the world to have they closed you off to protect what’s inside? All of our experiences have weakened us or strengthened us. They’ve silenced us or prompted us to scream louder then we’ve ever screamed. These experiences guide us to our purpose and it is our purpose that guides us to our own definition of success.
Are you living a life that is guided by your purpose?
Same place next week Right?