What does success mean to you? What do you think constitutes a successful life? These are questions I never thought too much about until I became an adult.
As a kid growing up, I always thought success meant being the smartest one in class or the one who can charm the teacher the most. Then as I became a young adult, I thought success meant being able to climb the corporate ladder; the higher and faster I could climb, the more successful I was going to be.
Little did I know that by the time I reached “success”—making 6 figures as a consultant, owning a condo downtown where I worked out at one of the fancy gyms with free towels—I wouldn’t feel very successful.
Instead of the freedom and glory I thought I would feel having reached this point in my life, I felt trapped. Trapped in the life I worked so hard for, stressed about how I was going to keep up with the “successful” image I created.
I looked outwardly successful; however, within I was feeling anxious to keep up with the outward persona. It was exhausting to appear successful at work. I would often work during my personal time to catch up, which is actually pretty normal in the industry of consulting.
Even after a few years of working in my role, I didn’t feel like I was more knowledgeable. I felt like I couldn’t keep up with the rest of my colleagues. It took all my energy just to maintain my appearance.
I learned how important it is to discover my own meaning of success. What’s your definition? Here are 3 tips to help you find out:
1. Listen to Your Body
Your body has lots of wisdom to share, if you have the chance to stop and really listen. Have you been running on empty for a while and not sure how your body is feeling? Do your best to turn off all outward distractions, and take a moment to sit with yourself and notice what your body is telling you.
2. Ask Yourself: What Makes Me Feel Good?
Think about what makes you feel good, what brings you joy, and how it makes you feel as you daydream about it. What are the things you value in your life? Is it having more time to be creative, to spend more moments with your loved ones, or is it to find more balance in your life?
Imagine what it would be like to be living a life full of joy, feeling good in your body. What do you think needs to change in order to find more peace and joy in your life?
3. Focus on Your Strengths, and Go for It!
It took me until my mid-thirties to start questioning if the way I was living was sustainable and wondering if there was a better way, a healthier life—one where I was using my strengths and living a life I can enjoy. Thoughts of living a stress-free life with intent and impact felt like a wild dream but one I continued wishing for.
I started to notice what people appreciated me for and what things I did well, and I directed my focus on feeling good. What I mean about feeling good is being aligned with my values and noticing when I feel peace and less tension in my body. That was a turning point in my measure of success.
Ultimately, it matters most to me how I feel, and whether I think I am successful or not. I believe success is living our lives the way our heart desires if we were brave enough to allow our hearts to dream.
So go out and find your own version of success! I dare you!