How do you define success? Have you taken the time to reflect and develop a definition that you can truly call your own? Whether we are aware of it or not, our definition of success becomes our north star.
This North Star becomes the guiding force in our life that motivates and propels us into action. It sometimes causes us to work long draining hours, putting up with a job that has long lost its luster and meaning, just to settle for the security of health insurance and a guaranteed paycheck.
Many of us fail to realize that in reality our deepest driving force for success is no more than a craving for security and a burning desire to accumulate more money.
In its simplest terms, many of us are motivated by the constant ebb and pull to make money and accumulate more stuff. Now, there’s nothing wrong with this in and of itself – if money and stuff were the golden ticket to happiness and contentment. More money and stuff can be fun. But when we blindly race towards these sign posts of success like the Tasmanian devil, with a wild, devilish look in our eyes, we will sadly be missing the mark.
Many of us – whether we’re willing to admit it- believe that life is going to bring us fulfillment when we’ve achieved this kind of level of success. Often we lose ourselves in the pursuit of making more money. You might be reading this, shaking your head and agreeing, “Of course, of course… I get it. It’s too bad other people don’t, but thank goodness I do. I’m not in that trap, I know what my true definition of success is.”
Here’s the catch. While most of us understand what our definition of success is at a rational level, few of us actually live our lives according to our “true success North Star.” Our actions aren’t in alignment with our values. Actions speak louder than words.
It’s our actions that eventually create a past that is paved with mere good intentions or a path that is paved with memories created from living a rich, purpose-filled life.
How many times have you promised yourself that you’d spend more time with the kids, give yourself more quiet time, take a vacation, have more fun and adventure in life, work less and spend more time with your partner, or take better care of your health?
Yet another day goes by and you’re too busy with work, running errands or “doing”, that time manages to elude you once again. If this describes you, then it could be beneficial to take the time to define what success means to you.
Strive to have your actions stem from intentions that come from a conscientious definition of success. In the E-myth Revisited, Michael Gerber reveals that successful people begin with the end in mind. They create a vision of how they’d like to be and then strive to live that vision on a daily basis.
How can you begin with the end in mind? Get very clear about what success means to you. Take some time to reflect on this. If you were to look back on a life well lived and you were to tell your spouse or one of your closest friends how happy you were to have lived such a meaningful and successful life, what would you tell them?
Maybe your definition of success includes having daily quiet time, having quality time for the important relationships in your life, making choices that come from a place of integrity instead of fear, thinking of others and being there for others instead of just looking after yourself, or taking care of your health so you can be there for your family.
Is it easy to live life this way? No. Is it worth it? Definitely!
Begin with the end in mind by getting clear on what success means to you and in the end, you will have lived a rich, joy-filled life with no regrets.