Define success on your terms

Blog #267

True success is rarely measured by the size of your bank account, the car you drive, or the neighborhood you live in. During these challenging times, many people are reflecting and taking stock of what is really important based on their own values. Family, health, quality time, work environment, and financial stability all come into play. Finance is still an important measurement, but the focus has pivoted away from finance to include more value-based measurements.

Often, the success results we see today are based upon our current perception of how the world views us. It is typical for this perception to have been strongly influenced by the advertising industry, our peers, and the misguided scarcity mindset of our family. In this blog, I will touch on each of these.

I believe how we define our own success matters because the vast majority of us have unknowingly lived our lives in a reactive state. We have not taken the time and energy to step back, dream big, and build a plan to achieve success on our terms. As a result, when we begin to achieve the vision of success that is not our own vision, rarely is it truly fulfilling. Even when we have achieved financial security and purchased all the stuff we desire, and we have reached what I call our “default goals,” success may still feel hollow. When we attain this level of success, it is not uncommon to feel lost, empty, or wanting more.

You are built for more. I promise you can reach your own vision of success and feel fulfilled.

It is not surprising that so many folks have lost sight and control of the true and meaningful success narrative in their heads. In the absence of a clear goal or vision, this narrative will get filled in by other influences (which may not be as fulfilling).

Here are a few examples of these outside influences:

  • Advertising. Let’s face it, it is their job to sell us their clients’ stuff…and they are very good at it. They do this by tapping into our emotions, fears, and personal shame. We see this in commercials, for example, when a celebrity spokesperson tries to sell us the fancy car pulling into a swanky house with beautiful people inside having fun. This often fills some open void we are experiencing. If it really takes hold, it means we have lost control of the success narrative. This new success narrative, originally conceived in an advertising thinktank, now becomes one of our unintended destinations for success, even if we never really wanted any of it.
  • Misguided scarcity mindset of our families. I believe there is no caring parent on the planet that does not want the very best for their child. I further believe that just as they were impacted by historical influences from their parents and family units, that influence also impacts each of us. Beliefs such as “getting a degree in XYZ because it pays well and you will always have a safe job” are well-intentioned; and in the absence of direction, may steer them for the rest of their lives. I think most families define success in terms of degrees, stability, and other markers, yet there is rarely dialogue around taking risks, defining what success personally means, etc. Although this thinking has worked well through the millennium, it can be unfulfilling to live without intention.
  • Peer influence. This can have a dramatic positive or negative influence. There is a familiar phrase that suggests we become like those we surround ourselves with. I believe this, yet I also think that we have to make sure they are living a life of intention and that those beliefs align with ours and our direction. To be clear, this is not a “keeping up with Joneses philosophy”. Rather, it should be more of a personal alignment philosophy. It is important in every stage of life to align with those individuals whose philosophy and values mirror your own.

As with any new way of thinking, the first step is having a desire to change. The second step is developing an awareness of where you are and where to start. Over the next few months, I will write pieces focusing on these topics to help you define success and live life on your terms.

In closing, there is an old saying that goes as follows:

Question: When is the best time to plant a tree?

Answer: 30 years ago.

Question: When is the second-best time to plant a tree?

Answer: Today.

Living a life of intention and on your terms is achievable and worth the effort. What will you do today to start living life on your terms? Contact us today to learn more!

Keep Smiling,


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