Success is the magic word for what we all strive for. It’s what we chase after, prepare for, choose, and desire. It is often defined by one’s accomplishments, favorable endeavors that come to fruition, or the attainment of wealth, position, or honors.
Are you successful, and if so, in what ways? Are you happy with who you are and what you have achieved?
Some people feel successful professionally. They have mastered a vocation, are recognized in a field as an expert, and have been rewarded financially as they continue to find their work fulfilling. However, often their self-esteem is tied to their career, and other parts of their life may suffer. Perhaps they do not have time for their friends or family, or they don’t commit time to any of their other passions and are feeling unfulfilled. Maybe they don’t invest enough time in their romantic relationships, and as such their love life and personal connections deteriorate.
Other people believe they have done well by taking care of their relationships, their health, and their families, yet they carry a constant disappointment that they have not done enough, achieved enough, or accumulated enough. Either way, success is being determined by what they do, not necessarily who they are as a person.
The key to authentic success starts with creating your own personal definition of achievement that aligns who you are with what you do. Most people need a combination of both personal and professional victories while maintaining life balance, personal connections, and passionate pursuits; taking advantage of service opportunities; and staying true to one’s life purpose.
Personal success is created by making choices that continually honor yourself, moving forward to reach your dreams and goals in spite of obstacles, and in the process, not betraying yourself along the way.
So, what does success mean to you? How do you define it, claim it, and honor it? Here are five steps to creating authentic success:
1. Embrace being selfish.
It’s OK to want what you want. Just do it from a place that is true to you. Know your values and priorities and why you do what you do. Listen to yourself, your needs, your wants, and your dreams, and discover how success will fit into your life. Whatever you do, include self-care, life balance, and boundary setting as a part of your success plan.
2. Cultivate a success plan.
Create a clear vision by setting goals that are reflective of you. Envision the end result — the lifestyle you want to live — and work backwards. Commit to your plan and take inspired action steps with a realistic timetable to work towards your aspirations.
Seek out the opportunity to fail every day. Stretch and challenge yourself by doing the scary things first. Ask for feedback and seek help from colleagues, mentors, and allies. Learn to build a tolerance for risking failure or rejection. Fail fast, fail forward, and begin again. No matter what, keep moving forward. Do something that puts you closer to achieving your goals and do not waste a moment not pursuing your dreams. Do the scary thing to build up tolerance for rejection. For example, when I started my life coaching business, my mentor challenged me to ask people to come on as my client and collect 50 nos. Not asking is not an automatic no, and every no leads you closer to a yes.
4. Embody your successful self.
Own your success and envision yourself as flourishing. Believe in your personal ability to succeed. Lead your efforts with relaxed confidence and unshakable certainty. If you don’t have the self-confidence needed, act as if you do until it arrives. Activate your energy by staying aligned to your purpose and not wasting time, money, or energy.
5. Be Selfless.
Know the impact you want to make and be graciously willing to share your accomplishments with others. Contribute your wisdom and resources to the greater good, and remember, the only way to hold on to success is to give it away.
Being authentically successful also requires learning how to do the best you can in any given situation. Here are some provocative questions to ask yourself to see if you are on your path to success:
1. What does true success look like to you, and what would that get you?
2. If your whole attention is focused on producing this result, what will you have to give up? Do you need to recalibrate and if so, where do you go from here?
3. How do you suppose you could change your current situation to better manifest your desired outcome?
Jennifer Blair is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.