How to Define Your Version of Success

How we define success can either positively or negatively impact our happiness, depending on the source of influence. So often in life, we get distracted by other people’s/society’s version of success. Feelings of inadequacy and failure are common when success is influenced by subconscious programming from external sources. These subconscious ideas of success from media, our friends or our own family are seeded so deep we swear it was our own idea. If you’ve ever felt a small level of growing dissatisfaction in your life, consider this:

The success you’re chasing might not actually be your own.

The key to reprogramming your definition of success is to shift the source of influence from external to internal. There are two steps to define your OWN version of success that will lead to more fulfillment in your life. Ask yourself the questions below:

Removing what is not your version of success

1. What is motivating me to reach success currently? – Take a hard look at what is driving you. Is it influenced by external pressures to keep up with the Joneses, or seeking approval from family/friends? Is it ego? Is it money?
2. Is my current definition of success the same as people around me? – Success is a very personal goal, and if it’s pretty much the same as those around you, perhaps you’re getting swept up in their version of success and not yours.
3. If nobody was watching/validating my success, would I still be doing what I’m doing now? – A lot of what we do is a direct reaction to how we want others to perceive us. Do you strive for success for yourself or to gain recognition/money/power? If the answer to this question is “no, I would not still be doing what I’m doing now”, go back to question #1 above.

By becoming more aware of external influences that shape your current success trajectory, you can start to remove those that don’t serve your life goals. Shed the noise that’s distracting you from achieving your success.

Identify what success actually means to you

1. Who do I aspire to be like? – Think about the people you admire, what qualities do they have? Are people you aspire to be like successful in particular ways that may not necessarily match with what you see in the media as “successful”?
2. What values and principles matter to me? – Is it quality time with family? Finding a work/life balance? Working in an authentic way that brings you joy? Making an impact on society?
3. If you could start over, what does true happiness look like in your life?  – After clearing what isn’t your version of success, visualize what happiness looks and feels like to you. How do you feel when you think about achieving happiness? What are the things you’re doing? Who is in your life? How are you impacting others? Find the link between your passions, your core values, and how you impact the people you care about in your life = success.

Defining your own version of success gives you a new north star to guide you on your path. You’re no longer distracted or caught up by what other people are doing. Success is not a comparison game, and it’s something that is achieved internally.

If you spend your whole life trying to chase other people’s version of success, you’ll only end up dissatisfied or inadequate.I’ve felt this exact way,after all the promotions, the money, the title, and everything on paper…it was a lonely and hollow “success”. I hope that by sharing the lessons I’ve learned about chasing external versions of success will help you to redefine your own version to live a happy and fulfilling life.

Sending love and light,
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How to define success_from desk to deck

The Words We Don’t Speak

When it comes to voicing our love and appreciation for the people in our lives, how much goes unsaid?  Why is it that we go years without telling people how we genuinely feel about them and how much light they bring to our lives? I’ve experienced some heartbreaking losses in my relatively short time on earth….an uncle to stomach cancer, a good friend to suicide, a grandfather to a stroke, and the list goes on. But the one regret I had across all of them, was that I didn’t get to tell them just how much they genuinely gave me strength, support, and love in my life.

Why do we wait until it’s too late before we give voice to the love stirring in our hearts? Is it laziness? Do we just assume they already know? Do we think it’s not worth our breath?  I suppose it’s human nature to always think “there will be a next time”….until there isn’t. The philosopher Seneca said,

“You squander time as if you drew from a full and abundant supply, though all the while that day which you bestow on some person or thing is perhaps your last.”

We are not immortal, and there’s no guarantee you nor your loved ones will be around to hear the words “YOU ARE LOVED.”

I intimately know how short and unpredictable life can be, and probably a big reason I live the way I do. However, there is one practice I’ve started to integrate into my life that has changed how I connect with people – friends and strangers alike – and that’s to always take a moment to directly tell them how much I appreciate them. It takes such little effort on our part but could mean so much to the other person. Speaking your truth and spreading love directly into the hearts of the people we care about has an immediate and lasting effect.

Here’s an easy way you can integrate this practice in your life: When something triggers a thought about a loved one (no matter how random), call/text them to say that you’re thinking of them and share specifically why you appreciate the friendship/relationship. I believe these random thoughts are not random at all, but the universe or our subconscious nudging us to connect. Everyone is living their own struggle, and your words could be the light that gives them strength in a moment of need.

Your words are powerful, use it to cultivate love and connection to those around you.

Be Happier By Letting Go

 

Have you ever noticed how we are all in a perpetual state of chasing? Chasing after the perfect job, the perfect relationship, the perfect apartment. Sometimes the chase is what motivates us, and sometimes the chase is what wears us down. The idea of “having it all” and striving for our definition of a perfect situation is not only unrealistic, it can be quite detrimental to our ultimate pursuit of happiness.

If there are key pillars in any job/situation (Job, relationships, apartment/home, family) there will always be something NOT ideal. You could have your dream job, a fantastic apartment with great friends, but no boyfriend to speak of. Or it’s having that amazing significant other and friends but stuck in a job you hate. When one aspect of your life seems to fall into place, another one seems to slip away. It’s maddening! If you also find yourself frustrated by this, here are some things to keep in mind:

Let Go of Disappointment.

Whenever we want everything in our life to be awesome, we inevitably feel disappointed when one part of our lives isn’t working out. Instead, pick something you CAN let go of. What is the one missing link you’re ok to do without? Or at least, ok with it not being 100% ideal. Accepting this will inevitably lead to a healthier perspective and possibly keep us from chasing our own shadow. Remember that disappointment is a self-inflicted wound.

Let Go of Perfection.

There’s no such thing as the “perfect life”, so we need to let go of this idea. Sure your job may not be saving lives, but does it afford you the opportunity to travel and spend time with friends and family? Perhaps not having a significant other could be frustrating, but at least you have the opportunity to deepen your relationships with your friends and enjoy your freedom. It’s more about focusing on what you do have and accepting that it’s ok not to have everything all at once. Life is a constant ebb and flow, and things will always find a way to balance out.

Let Go of Judgement.

Trying to seem like you “have everything together” isn’t about what you think of yourself. It’s a reaction to how you think others may perceive or judge you. You worry that others will think less of you, that you’re not smart/pretty/successful/rich enough. Here’s the brutal truth, nobody cares. Everyone else is so concerned about their own lives that the people that actually matter to your life WILL NOT JUDGE you. It doesn’t matter to them what car you drive, what your business card says, or what you look like — if you live genuinely and try your best to be a good person to the people around you — they don’t care your life isn’t “perfect”.

 

Next time you find yourself in an endless pursuit of the “perfect” anything, stop and take stock of what you can let go of for the sake of your sanity and happiness. Is this something you also struggle with? Any other perfectionists out there?

 

5 Lies We Tell Ourselves About Happiness

When you think about “happiness,” what comes to mind? I used to think happiness meant feeling positive and successful all day every day, chasing a state of perpetual “happy” like it was the pinnacle of emotional achievement.  Unfortunately, this definition is too rigid and unrealistic to allow for those human moments when we feel less than excited about life, anxious, or worn down from the daily grind. I felt like I was lacking happiness when I didn’t feel constant euphoria, and the thought of not living the happiest and best life was a constant fear. However, I believe we all tell ourselves lies that prevent us from recognizing and honoring the happiness we DO possess in our lives. In today’s blog post, I discuss the 5 lies we tell ourselves about happiness and what we can all do to reframe what happiness means to us.

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