How to Write your Own Success Story
How do you define success? Most people do with two usual suspects on the scene: wealth and power.
If that’s your definition, guess what? Great! That is… if that's how you’ve chosen to write your success story…
I’m struck by how few people call into question their personal version of success. We do it all the time with our health, our relationships, and our political preferences. For example, if something in your diet is causing a strange reaction or doesn’t taste good, chances are you steer clear of that something in the future. Or if a relationship feels toxic or disrespectful, you’d likely address the issue at hand, or, even part ways after awhile if it gets bad enough.
Hopefully, at some point along the way we call into question what no longer aligns with our values and ceases to work for us. This is what showing up and advocating for ourselves looks like.
After all, as humans, we have the distinct freedom and responsibility to write and revise our stories over time. It’s what sets us apart from animals.
So why do we hold so tightly to that narrow definition of success? Besides, some of the most successful people I’ve ever known don’t measure theirs by a bank balance or a Kardashian-esque social media following. Instead, they make waves in far more lasting, impactful ways.
I believe the litmus test for success is based on character rather than clout. I also believe we get to define our own version of success based on the person we’re becoming. When was the last time you took inventory of your definition? If it’s been awhile, perhaps it’s time to revisit. After all, with age comes wisdom (we hope) and often shifting values. If in your 20’s and 30’s success looked like that big job on Wall Street or a record deal with a major label, perhaps it shifted to meaningful relationships or creative expression in your 40’s and 50’s. Who knows? Well, you do…
Here are a few pillars to build your new success story around. Push them around. Color them in a bit.
Health: Our health is the foundation of all other functions in life. Life is a much better place when we feel good. I’m not only talking about physical health, but emotional as well as spiritual.
Contentment: The ability to cultivate contentment despite our circumstances is true badassery in my book. The secret sauce in this recipe—gratitude.
Self-Awareness: How you show up in the world affects everything and impacts overall success, especially work and relationships. Cultivating greater self-awareness through therapy and self-development tools like the Enneagram creates a positive ripple effect.
Generosity: Giving back through time and resources is intrinsically a selfish act if you think about it. The practice of generosity gives an instant hit of purpose and joy if done from a place of honesty.
Presence: There is no better way of fully showing up in the world than consciously awake in the present moment. It’s the the most valuable real estate we’ll ever own. When we practice mindful presence, we stave off anxiety (“out there” thinking) and forego nostalgia (idealizing the past).
Bonus: Share your new success story and this exercise with a friend. Relationships are where these beliefs are really hardwired-in!
Love & Gratitude,