How to define success for yourself, no matter what the world says
By AIDA ADNAN
“No, I’m 100% sure Mama. When I am old enough to work, I want to be a scientist who experiments with a lot of bubbles so that I can make medicine for sick cats. I don’t care what people will say, that’s what I want.”
Yeah. That was me defining success at age seven.
I got the idea of being a scientist from a children’s workbook showing the man with the lab coat and crazy hair holding a bubbling beaker and having a great time. He just looked like a hero to me.
Though I never had my own experiment set or spent hours and hours making lava-like concoctions, I’ve been happily defining and re-defining what “success” means to me as long as I can remember.
Taking the time to challenge assumption – both societies and our own – is something I feel very strongly about. Especially as it relates to such a relative and often loaded concept as “success”.
When you have the courage to question what you’re doing and, more importantly, why you’re doing it – you stay on your edge of innovation, truth and lasting fulfillment.
Pressing all the right buttons
In my seminars, one of the key distinctions I bring up is to honour the process of innovative creation. As a modern society, we have become so dependent on Google, research articles and surveys that we have lost touch with our own capability to be brilliant.
Most successful entrepreneurs and people I know have mastered the art of relying on their own “creative button”.
That is, to trust that they can build something and make it successful even though it has not been done before, or when all the supportive information and guarantees of it working are not there.
What does it really take to have a healthy, effective relationship with success? And how can we redefine it in a way that can make us more courageous, creative leaders?
To help you discover what success means to you, here are my two breakthrough beliefs you can take on towards embracing the new kind of empowered, dynamic leader.
1. “Not deciding” is a decision
We make big and small decisions everyday. The thing that holds us back in taking that new job, starting a business, making that investment or losing that 10 pounds is not because we can’t do it. It’s because we are not willing to decide to do it.
Staying stuck does not equal to being careful or being capable. Being stuck is only a result of you not willing to decide. Confidence comes from the pure action of deciding.
So just decide. Decide that you will do it and that you deserve the greatest outcome. Know that if you make a mistake, you’ll be sure to pick up and do better next time.
2. You are not your success and failures
I have made plenty of mistakes in my life. I have mismanaged my money, I have gone into the wrong relationships and I have said things that hurt those close to me.
Yet if I am such a mean, negative person, how come I have also had such amazing experiences and success as well?
I have trained and impacted people through my seminars and personal coaching. I have traveled extensively all over the world and gotten to know beautiful, amazing, inspiring people.
I have incredible friends and family who love and support me no matter what. If I were to judge myself solely from my mistakes, wouldn’t I be permanently unable to have all these achievements?
To be empowered is to understand that we are bigger than our success and failures, and that succeeding and failing at anything is just a result of taking the wrong actions based on what we know at that time. It is not who we are.
Who you are is what you declare yourself to be. You are the values you take on and the actions that you take, progressively. Who you are is what guides you to be at your greatest.
Therefore, how you define success is entirely up to you. For some it is to have tonnes of money and live in a huge mansion, while for others it is to build their own business empire, or be surrounded by friends and family, or travel the world. For others yet it is just to be a great parent.
There is no one set of “Success Template” that is right. Your success is yours to derive and I guarantee you that whatever you define as success, positively, will be your source of happiness for all time.
As so eloquently described by one of my favourite authors:
“Success is liking who you are, liking what you do and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou
Aida Adnan is an author, corporate speaker/trainer, executive leadership coach, business turnaround strategist and CEO of AAA Leadership Coaching Consulting. Her authentic yet strategic approach to transformation has made her a core asset to organisations looking to create a progressive and purpose-driven culture. To have her turn around the teams of your organisation or to connect with her, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more How To articles, click here.
Prethiba is passionate about impacting people through the written word. She believes that our lives are solely written by us, and thus the power to change for the better lies with us.