Part of me has always wanted to be a princess in giant pink dress full of sparkles and sequins – with a castle of my own.
When I had that, I know I would have made it.
I actually obtained this at the age of 11, when I starred as Glynda the Good Witch of the North, in our primary school version of “The Wizard Of Oz.”
It was one of my greatest moments – I had my sequins and sparkles, and a pair of silver sparkly shoes one size too small – but I was going to fit into them and walk graciously, gloriously and painfully across that stage.
No matter what. And I did…three nights in a row.
I was a true success…
What Does Success Really Mean To You?
That’s what success meant to the 11 year old me.
And it even sounds fabulous to the 41 year old me.
But what happened in between?
Because somewhere along the way I lost touch with those dreams of sequins and sparkles, and got stuck in the pursuit of corporate ladders and titles and money and mortgages and investments and stuff and things – the stuff that makes you “successful.”
Somewhere along the way, that 11 year old girl got lost.
And when I finally climbed the corporate ladder, and obtained the stuff and the things – and reached the pinnacle of “success” I really was not happy. In fact, it was actually one of my low points.
What’s going on here?
In the Western world, we live in a society and a culture, that really does value money and the material.
People are often judged based on your job title, your income, the house you live in, the car you drive.
It all means “something.”
It gauges your level of success in relation to other people and their stuff and things.
This stuff is a material benchmark that ranks your success in societies eyes.
It allows society to gauge your value and your worth in the culture we have created.
The Problem With Society Success
This is someone else’s version of success.
It’s not yours.
It’s a whole heap of criteria that has been created by some random people that you are conditioned to believe you need to comply with in order to be a success.
And so, the idea of being a princess in a pink sequined sparkly dress gets put to the side, so you can go focus on being a “business woman” in a suit who spends her life working really really hard, so she can have a whole heap of financial obligations and commitment – but at least one day she’ll be a success?
Or will she?
When you comply with someone else’s version of success, you rarely actually feel successful when you get there.
Why You Really Pursue Success
At the end of the day, we are feeling creatures, and you pursue much of the the money and the the titles and the things and the stuff – because of how you think you’re going to feel when you get there.
It’s different for every one – that desired feeling.
And it’s not always clear.
- You work hard to get a promotion and a pay rise. But why do you want the promotion?
- You might think you want a promotion to acknowledge your hard work.
- But why do you want to be acknowledged? So that you feel valued?
- Why do you want to feel valued? So that you feel connected and a part of something?
- So you want to feel connected?
- So you work hard to get a promotion so that you want to feel connected?
But you work hard and you either don’t get the promotion. You’ve done well brilliant work, but you’re not promoted and so you never feel connected. So the success of your work achievement falls flat. You’ve failed to “succeed.”
Another Reason To Pursue Success
Let me give you another example of why someone might pursue the same thing.
- You work hard to get a promotion and a pay rise. But why do you want the pay rise?
- Because you’re about to buy a house and take on a mortgage? But why do you want the house and the mortgage?
- Because you want security and certainty for your future? Why do you want security and certainty?
- Because you grew up in a house that was really chaotic. You want to take control of your life.
- You want to feel in control.
So, you work hard, and you get the house and the mortgage. You feel in control for a while, until interest rates go up and you have to work an extra 10 hours overtime a month to make ends meet. You’re now trapped in your financial obligations – and you no longer feel in control. So the “success” of your new home is short-lived.
ACTIVITY: When Have You Pursued Success?
You may relate directly to one or both of these examples.
For the record, they were both me at various points in my life. I didn’t quite learn the first time around.
Regardless, think of a time when you aimed for success and just did not feel it when you reached it.
Ask your self “why” you wanted that thing?
Then, ask your self “why” you wanted THAT thing.
And so on, until you come down to a core feeling that you wanted to experience as a result of that “thing.”
You’ll know when you get there. There won’t be any more layers.
How Does It Make You Feel NOW?
In both these examples, the pursuit of success is for a feeling that you think you may feel once you achieve this “thing” or “experience” or whatever it is.
It’s out in the future, and you’re doing it because society is telling you that you will obtain these feelings you desire when you achieve these things.
But how on earth can society really know how you are going to feel?
Because every one is different. Our experiences and perspectives are totally unique.
No-one can predict how you will feel in the future.
By pursuing someone else’s goals and definitions of success, you’re setting your self up for failure.
The Key To Defining Your Success
The key to defining your own success is to figure out how you want to feel and then go feel it…NOW. @LizWatt26
The outcome of every thing for human beings, is how it makes you feel.
It’s the emotion that you associate with a particular object, title or thing.
True success is feeling the way you really want to feel.
Not in 2 years when you’ve burned your self out for a promotion that may or may not come.
Not in 30 years, when you’ve paid off the mortgage.
ACTIVITY: Feel Your Success NOW
Life is too short to wait to feel success.
So, stop for a moment and figure out what success means to you?
Put it in terms of how you want to feel.
Be honest, be really honest, and let go of what any one else may think of you.
And then, ask your self what you can do right now to make you feel like that.
And go do it.
Go feel and be a success right now!
[Tweet “If It Doesn’t Feel Good, Don’t Do It.”]
Stop pursuing what might bring you a feeling of success in the future,
Start living in a feeling of success NOW!
What Next? How To Apply This Information NOW!
These are such simple practices to bring you closer to YOUR definition of success.
But they are practices. And it may take some time to really shift your approach to success – after all, you’ve been trained to think a certain way for your entire life!
For now, let’s have a quick go…I dare you.
- Feel Your Success Now – Complete both the activities above. Figure out when you have felt like you achieved real success and what you did feel like – and what success feels like to you now. Then go do it!
- Leave a comment below – What’s your definition of success? Now, or as a kid? How did you want to feel? I’d love to know what your true idea of success is and what you’re doing to bring more of that into your life. Let me know in the comments below.