Monday, April 23, 2018

Climbing Out Of The Rabbit Hole – Defining Success

Yesterday, I was working with a fellow coach and confessed that I stumble quite frequently over my personal definition of success.  Intellectually, and from a coaching perspective, I define success by looking at several different factors.  Culturally, and from a very limited perspective, many of us see success as money, things, power, and ego.  And, I confess that I often slip down that rabbit hole when I don’t spend enough time in celebrating all of my accomplishments and remembering all I have to be grateful for.

I also know that if I’m struggling with this, many others are asking the same questions, and are looking for that perfect definition of success that helps them create the life they are looking for.  Let’s talk about a few things we should consider:

1.  Peaceful minds.  People around the world are looking for the one ingredient that allows for peace of mind.  That one ingredient is simply freedom from fear.  Fear is the consequence we feel in the form of worry, anger, guilt, sadness, anxiety or embarrassment based upon a belief we hold about situations occurring in our day to day interaction with our perception of reality.  We seek peaceful minds through a variety of outlets: faith, money, relationships, work or participation in behaviors such as gambling or drugs.  Many have found that peace comes about only through forgiveness and love, for ourselves and others.

2.  Physical Vitality.  No matter how you define “success”, without the physical vitality to enjoy life to the best of our ability, life is only a shell of what it can be.  You will note the caveat of “to the best of our ability”.  There are those who maximize their physical vitality regardless of the condition of the human form they have been given.  These are the role models I look to as I deal with life’s complexities; those people who never limit themselves because they cannot walk, see, hear, run, jump or swim.  These are activities – not the inner core of who they are.  We can take part in all of these activities to maintain our physical health, but they do not define our vitality, the light and energy from within.  It’s interesting to note that financial fortunes have been spent in desperate attempts to regain health or stay youthful and vibrant, when it can be had for little cost by simply staying actively involved in what we can physically do, and not worrying about whether we meet the cultural definition of being physically perfect.  

3.  Relationships.  No matter how much financial success or power you possess, it brings with it a penetrating hollowness if you don’t have anyone to share it with.  Relationships go far beyond a spouse, and embrace your parents, children, friends and other family members.  Remember the story of Scrooge and Christmas’ past, present and future?  Money gives us little peace of mind until we open our hearts to share our time, love and attention.  Then money becomes another energy to be shared without it being the only thing we have to offer. 

4.  Money.  It seems ironic to be talking about how money doesn’t define success, but yet it is a factor in our ability to achieve success.  Why?  It is a factor because we are talking about achieving freedom from thinking about money all the time.  My definition of success is to have enough money to meet my necessities, and have enough set aside to deal with emergencies. To be sure, my definition of enough is probably not the same as yours, or my husband’s.   Money is energy.  When we don’t have enough, it consumes us.  When we have enough, and we are paying attention to it responsibly, we can take a deep breath and turn our attention to other factors which help us be successful.

5.  Vision and meaningful goals.  Each of us has our own unique vision of what we desire in life.  This vision is defined by who we are, what we value and our priorities in life.  Goals help pull us toward that vision.  And, we are motivated to be successful in achieving these goals by our values and priorities.  Money may be part of that vision, but what I am hearing more and more often from my clients is that they really want to make a difference in our world.  They want to improve some aspect of themselves, or some aspect of society that they are passionate about.  This is human nature.  We are constantly striving to move forward, to go deeper, and to create meaning. 

6.  This leads us to personal fulfillment, or self-actualization.  Self-actualization is a feeling that you matter, and that you are making a difference not only in your own life, but in the lives of people who are connected to you.  It is a realization that you aren’t just going through the motions of living each day for no reason.  It is in knowing that what you do and who you are is of vital importance. 

Not everything you do will bring these factors in to play, and any one factor can become a goal to pursue for a season or a lifetime.  I’ve adapted them a bit in regard to leadership, for example.  Leadership:

  • It represents the peace you get when you know you are leading (and following) in the best possible manner you can at any moment in time.
  • The health and energy you will feel as you empower and delegate personal responsibility and accountability to those around you, enabling you to take care of yourself and encouraging them to take care of themselves, as well.
  • The relationships you build with everyone you are connected to at work, home, and volunteer opportunities within your community that are built on respect and dignity.
  • The potential for financial freedom you get when you are leading and/or following others well.
  • The higher goals you can set for yourself, your company, your family as you build toward your vision.
  • The feeling of accomplishment you get as you become more intentional and aware by accomplishing and celebrating your goals.

How will your life change as a result of reaching your goals and your definition of success?

Please share your comments so that others might learn from you, as I know I will.

Georgia Feiste, President of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a personal growth and leadership coach, writer, and workshop facilitator.  She is also a Usui Reiki Master and EFT practitioner.  Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life.  You can also find Georgia on her website, Collaborative Transitions, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.   Georgia may also be reached at (402) 304-1902 if you wish to schedule a 30 minute complementary consultation.

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