Week 23 – The Real Keys to Success in Life
Have you ever seen those infomercials at 2 a.m. “GUARANTEEING FINANCIAL SUCCESS! by following these simple 12 steps?” Don’t we tell our children that they need to go to college and get an education to have a successful career? Do we not measure ourselves as adults in terms of how our finances stack up, how many cars we own and the size of our house? Several people offer some type of “formula” to determine how to be successful and then how to measure that success for you to determine whether or not you are actually successful. But the reality is…every person’s success is defined at the individual level. Not the collective level. Every person’s journey towards success is individual. Not collective. And how we choose to define our success should also be at the individual level and not compared, mirrored or a mimic of someone else’s success as they have defined it. Join us during the month of June as we go deeper in discussing The Real Keys to Success in Life.
Let’s start by defining success. Webster-Merriam defines success as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” But defining what your aiming at and understanding your purpose in the first place is how we sometimes start off on the wrong foot. If we are not aiming in the direction that aligns with our purpose, we miss the target and then consider what would have been our success as being a failure.
I had a friend this past week who was “passed over for a promotion that was deserved” in his words. He wasn’t “successful” in achieving the next level of his career at this particular company. In the natural sense of things, he is qualified, he has put in the time and has the experience. He has helped the department set records of “success” in that the results have consistently increased month after month after month. He has a great relationship with his co-workers and his boss. But the company chose someone else for the job that “should have been his.” Understandably he was upset. Most of us would be. But…what is defining his success in this situation? The promotion or lack thereof? Again, Webster-Merriam says success is “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” His aim and purpose was to achieve that promotion and he put his efforts into achieving that “success” as defined by him. But what I offered him in the midst of his being upset is, “are you aiming in the direction that aligns with your overall purpose?”
True success in life is defined by living in your purpose. True success is not determined by how much money you have, how large the home you live in, how fancy your cars are or the status of position at your job. True success comes from within while operating within your purpose in life. There are no “12 steps to success” you can follow from an infomercial. There are no books to show you the way. No one person can tell you the road to take. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly programs, books and advice that are offered, but understanding authentic success means understanding how to find the happiness, tranquility, joy, sense of accomplishment and contentment within yourself first, all while defining what makes you successful for yourself. Success begins from within…not from without. In other words, success, as stated is aligned with your soul, the part of you that is truly YOU. It comes from within. When we define success from “without,” meaning we must achieve that thing we don’t have in order to be successful, we throw off our authentic aim. Currently I am “without” a Ferrari. If I say, once I get that Ferrari, I will be truly successful, I am defining and measuring success from a state of lack. From without. But when I look within first, I know there is no material thing, no possession, no financial status, no job title, no social standing and no ranking of ANYTHING that defines my success. It all comes from within. Not from without.
How many times have you set ultimate goals to achieve a particular thing? All the time right? And, please, we all understand how it feels to set a goal, even a stretch goal, and then achieve it. It feels WONDERFUL! There’s no question in that. We feel accomplished and satisfied. It feels just plain old good. I LOVE a sense of accomplishment. But accomplishment should not be confused with success. Webster-Merriam says accomplishment is “something that has been achieved successfully.” It does not say you have achieved success. Again, that is defined by you and only you.
The point of our discussion this month will be to help you explore your definition of success, outline the keys to success individually and perhaps redefine what authentic success is for your life. When we align our aim and measurement of success with our true purpose in life, we are then and only then guaranteed authentic success.