“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth” – Henry David Thoreau
The Oxford Dictionary has four definitions for success:
The accomplishment of an aim or purpose:
The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status
A person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame, wealth, etc
The good or bad outcome of an undertaking
Lately I have been thinking more about the topic of success – it’s one that comes up so often the conversations I have with my friends and creative peers.
I have shared previously my feelings that I just want to run in the direction of what feels most fulfilling and meaningful to me, and I don’t think there’s a more honest way for me to describe how I feel about work and life.
Why don’t value success in the traditional way that the Oxford Dictionary and at many times society – does? After talking with so many people, I’ve found I’m not the only one embracing an different approach when it comes to defining what success means.
Ultimately, I think the traditional definition of success just does not feed my soul in a way that offers any long term fulfilment and joy – for me, the traditional markers of success feel way more about how the world perceives us than it does how we feel ourselves about our life and work along the way.
Worrying about whether or not we’re “successful”, compromising our health, relationships, and wellbeing to reach traditional markers of success, ignoring our own values and intuition so we can pursue the validation of others instead, and building a life on someone else’s vision instead of our own can be some of the most sure-fire ways to find ourselves with a life that is exhausting and unfulfilling instead of the joyful life so many of us crave.
It’s not my place to tell you how to define success, I couldn’t think of anything worse I could do with these letters than tell you how to live your life and feel about it along the way. Instead, today I want to share with you my own alternative approach to success, the things that have shaped it along the way, and ultimately how I’m finding peace in a world where sometimes it’s easy to just not feel good enough every single day.
Contentment: Do I feel satisfied in my day-to-day life? Even with the stressors and challenges that cannot be avoided in life, do I feel content with how I am spending my days?
- Purpose: Do I feel like my life is bigger than just myself and my own needs? Do I feel like I am contributing to the world in a way that fulfils my higher purpose in life?
- Passion: Am I excited about my endeavours – both in work and in life? Do I feel enthusiastic about the things I am filling my days with?
- Joy: Do I feel happiness in my life? It doesn’t have to be every single second of every single day, but do I find joy and pleasure in my life on a regular basis?
- Personal growth: Am I staying open to changing, evolving, and growing along the way in my life? Am I pushing myself to become the best version of myself?
- Devotion: Am I committed to the things in my life that are important to me? I am giving 100% to the endeavours and relationships that I want to prioritise in my life?
- Peace: Do I feel at peace in my day-to-day life, even when things may not be going as hoped and planned? Am I staying connected to my core values so that I can live an intentional and intuitive life along the way?
- Authenticity: Am I showing up, in both my work and life, fully and 100% myself? Am I owning my story and living in my truth?
Some of these may resonate with you, some of these may not. These are just my own markers for how I redefine success in my own work and life – and it’s good to note that I don’t always live up to these every single day. As always, life and this messy journey of being human is always a work in progress.
So I ask you, what does your “redefining success” list look like? What are the questions you’d love to ask yourself when those fears of “am I successful?” and “am I good enough?” start to creep in?
Watch this to see me give you too much information, D I S C L A I M E R I swear and say penis (a lot).