Re-defining & Living Success
We have to find our own definition of success that drives our lives. We are born with infinite possibilities facing us. Our parents, communities and people who care about us invest in us with the best of intentions to create the image of success we should live by.
Very little thought is given to what we need and what input we should be giving into what success means for us. At some point in our lives we need to face this and re-define what it means for us.
1. How I defined Success
Growing up my definition of success was based on people valuing me for what I had. I needed to be liked and accepted, and being poor, we didn’t have much. This meant I saw myself as being valued less and allowed others to treat me as such. I also valued others with ‘stuff’ as being better than me.
The impact was that I pushed myself to achieve in life. I wanted more ‘stuff’ so people would value me. I studied and got a great job. I earned money and bought great clothes. I hung around with similar people and we were successful. Something was missing…
2. Awareness and Choices
I reached a point in my life where my low self-esteem was impacting my growth. It affected all areas of my life and I realised I needed to change. The ‘stuff’ was limited and shallow and couldn’t take away the inner deficit I felt about who I was. The façade was crumbling and people could see through me.
I faced a choice. I could carry on accumulating ‘stuff’ and keep chasing this hollow definition of success or I could journey into discovering who I was, what I was about and change how I saw success. I knew what I had to do and that didn’t make it any easier.I remember the first phone call to a therapist. I was so nervous and told him my wife believes I need therapy. That was the beginning of my inner journey into myself. A journey into self-acceptance. A journey into redefining how I saw success.
3. Unpacking The Baggage
My toughest challenge, which persists today, is unpacking my baggage. I had accumulated so many beliefs from the people who influenced me that unraveling and changing it would be a lifetimes worth of work. I needed a new definition of success against which I could assess any belief and habit that I was willing to accept.
I decided that my definition of success would now be: “I am an individual who loves and accepts himself for all that he is and is willing to change anything that doesn’t support this.”This had huge ramifications for me. I spent many hours exploring my behaviours, the beliefs behind them and how they impacted my life. I cried, I laughed and I got angry; very angry. I reached a point of acceptance and knew that in order to move forward in certain areas I needed to forgive and let go.
4. What Drives Me
Along my journey I defined four cornerstones that I use to align me with my level of success I am seeking.The first is self-belief. I trust that whatever happens I will be okay. I know that I am good at what I do and that self-belief allows me to ride the tough times.The second is self-love. I accept that I have a dark side, that I have flaws and that I do and will make mistakes. I choose to love myself through all of this. This comes down to self-acceptance and forgiveness. If I can give this to myself, I can give it to others.The third is Love & Courage.
I chose these two values to run my life. It helps me have an abundance mindset and heartset. It allows me to give freely of my time and knowledge and creates huge connection for me. This opens up opportunities.The fourth is self-awareness. I know that if I want to change anything I have to be aware of it. I realise that every experience I have reveals me to myself. How I interact with the world is a reflection of my inner self and that is freeing. I am able to observe or reflect on my behaviours using self-awareness and have a window to who I am in the moment and what I need to change.
5. What Does The Mean for Me
I now define who I am by what I think of myself. I am becoming more and more self-referred meaning I draw the value of whom I am from within. Other people have opinions and I do consider them. What I now know is that it is just an opinion and it does not have to shape or define who I am and how I live my life.I am now fully at choice. Using my four cornerstones I am able to accept people who are different. I create more connection. I make myself vulnerable when required.
I have more compassion for others and myself. My life is successful because I live who I am and I help others be the same through the way I live my life.The kicker for me is that the more I connect with me and live my four cornerstones, the ‘stuff’ arrives. I have what I need and I feel much happier about my life. Redefining what success meant for me and knowing it started with me was the beginning of a lifetime journey, one I enjoy each and every moment.
6. What Next for You
Consider where you are at in your life. On a scale of 1 – 10 with 10 being high, how happy and fulfilled are you? Knowing you need to change is the beginning. Doing something about it is what makes life so interesting.
What will be your story you tell in 10 – 15 years time? What will you do next?