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Is it Time to Re-Examine Your Concept of Success?

In writing or speaking about success so many self help experts and gurus will tell you that if you just do exactly what successful people are doing then you will also have success. As if it is a given that borrowing someone else’s concept of success is the best way for you to attain success.

In fact, I am a long time subscriber to an e-newsletter from a success coach I greatly admire and as I was preparing my notes and thoughts to write this article his latest issue dropped into my inbox and, lo and behold, his main article was based on this premise of success: “Success is the predictable result of doing the things that others have done to create or achieve the results we want in our lives.” It’s his belief that success is based on learnable skills and tasks. And he goes on to say that “as long as we live in a predictable, orderly universe, success is basically an engineering problem.” I mean no disrespect to this gentleman and although there were many points in this article that I agree with, this wasn’t one of them. Holy Moly – What a left-brained concept!

While I agree that practice makes perfect, I don’t agree that one size fits all when it comes to defining or even achieving success. Many people think success is a goal to be achieved somewhere out there in the future and is usually attached to fame and/or fortune. I believe success is an ongoing process and is congruent with doing what you love. Dare I say it – success could actually be considered an emotion we would all like to feel. It is personal and only you can define what success means to you.

So how do you define success for yourself? The best method I’ve learned came from my beloved mentor coach (from afar), the late, great Thomas Leonard. Several years ago, I attended a teleseminar where he shared a process in defining what is most important to you.

The first step is to choose an area of your life where you most want to define success and complete this sentence: I know how successful I am by how [fill in the blank here].

The wording is important because it not only clarifies how you define success but, more importantly, how you know you are being successful at any given time. It’s a place to check in. You will want to tinker with your success definitions until they evoke a strong feeling response; and, possibly a tingle or shiver through your body.

Come up with at least three definitions, but ideally you will create a success statement for each of the areas of your life that matter to you. Here are some examples from my own life from what I value most:

Creativity: I know how successful I am by how delighted I feel when I am using my creativity.

Independence: I know how successful I am when I wake up and know that the pace and place of my day are totally determined by me.

Nature: I know how successful I am by how my connection with nature nurtures me.

I think you will be surprised by how quickly success begets success when you are armed with your own clear concepts of what it looks like and feels like for you.

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