Shifting the way we view success can have positively staggering consequences for the way we measure ourselves.
Most of us recognize “success” when we hear it. “The person who launched x corporations, wrote x number of books, headed the philanthropic association, guest-appeared on Oprah, shook hands with the queen, and flew to mars …”
Recently, as I sat, sunken in my chair and solemn about my year’s worth of worthlessness (all self-perceived), my fiance surprised and rattled me with the question; “What does success mean to you, anyway?”
I paused, and then proceeded to justify something similar to that above. But acknowledging that that too, is societies conditioned, cumulative idea of success.
This notion of success is pounded into our brains more than ever and louder than ever – with podcasts, social media “likes” and “follower” counts, personal branding, LinkedIn, a never ending, swiping, scrolling, reminder of more, a reminder that we are not.
If we are not living up to this societal, self-iterated notion of success, then we can feel like “a failure” and “not enough.”
That is not to discredit those who have done AMAZING, INCREDIBLE things. Not at all.
Instead, I propose that you reframe your idea of success in order to achieve your dreams and enjoy the process.
Reshape your ideas of success-fullness into goals. Goals are tangible, success is subjective.
If someone has attained something that you truly, in your heart, wish to achieve yourself, beautiful. Find confirmation and inspiration in those who have walked before you. If they, other human beings, can achieve it, then why not you?
Embrace the journey and wonderment of where you are now. Things that are perhaps not “societal success” are bloody phenomenal! (And should be esteemed with more gold stars).
The mother who creates life from fragments of herself, who births that miraculous life into the world, nurtures it, loves it, guides it into adulthood; Is that success? How can that not be ultimate success?
It comes down to what we value. More and more, we are valuing more – assets, wealth, shiny distractions, instant pleasure. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this – the problem is in the excess and at what cost? Unfortunately, that cost can be love, connection, wonderment, and mindful experiences.
Redefining the societal view of success begins with you.
One of the greatest side-effects of letting go of the success ideology is greater enjoyment of the here-and-now – the current chapter of your life.
There is no guarantee that you would even feel successful should you achieve your idea of success. So why not let it go?