The Cambridge Dictionary defines reality as “the state of things as they are, rather than as they are imagined to be”. Success is defined as “the achieving of the results wanted or hoped for”. Definitions that most people take for granted, and never think twice about, but who then determines the definition of “the state of things as they are” and who is it “wanting or hoping” for certain results?
In most cases, we live in a blended reality of the state of things as they are now and our future, hoped for state, while managing the expectations of our parents, teachers, friends and society at large. Many times, we strive for “success” not even fully understanding what the reality of this would look like. “Success” is inherently subjective, but we have not really embraced a process of defining this state of being in real terms; it remains an abstract “end of the yellow brick road” destination for many of us.
If we accept that success is in a journey and not a destination, and that the milestones on the road will be different to all those that take it, then defining what you want and how to achieve it could be broken down into step-by-step actions and goals. That said, so few of us are ever taught how to tackle this task. If subliminal messaging and cultural norms and pressures could influence behaviour in the past, then we face even greater difficulty standing up to determine our own definitions with the modern world’s social dilemma.
To get started, here are five things you can do to embrace change and redefine what success means to you.
1) Understand Yourself
Last month we talked about finding your values to assist as you pivot towards the life you want. Make sure these values align with your personal vision and goals you have and allow them to act as the guiding compass on your journey. Unsure what your vision and goals are? Think about times you were the happiest, proud and most fulfilled and satisfied in your life. What brings you joy? Utilise online quizzes to help you learn about your personality. The Myers-Briggs personality type quiz and this Self-Knowledge Questionnaire by The School of Life are both simple tools to help you get started.
2) Set Goals in Alignment With Your Values
Set SMART goals, and work smarter instead of harder. Being busy and burnt out is not the badge of honour our society sometimes glorifies. Write your goals down. Break them down in quarterly and monthly goals followed by weekly actionable items that are scheduled in your calendar. The key is to begin.
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic/Relevant
T – Time-bound
Create an environment to support your goals and enlist help from those around you.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” – Benjamin Franklin
3) Check in With Yourself Weekly
Take an honest look at how you spend your time and ask yourself if you are living in alignment with your values. Are the things you spend your time on leading you towards the future reality you wish to have? Remember that your plans can shift and change – you are entitled to and encouraged to reassess your goals on a regular basis. What was important to you age 23 might completely change by age 30, 40, and 50. Whilst change can feel uncomfortable, it usually results in greater fulfillment if you keep your values as the guiding compass of the change making process.
“If you are what you do then when you don’t, you aren’t” – Wayne Dyer
4) Have Healthy Boundaries
This is a tough one for most of us. Keep in mind that being available to everyone all the time is poor “housekeeping” on your part. You may feel that you are being helpful and open to all that wish to access your time, but if this depletes your energies, something needs to change. Define your boundaries and research diplomatic ways to communicate these to others. Don’t assume that others will automatically know, or understand, your boundaries. Taking back your time is the single most valuable exercise you can ever complete.
“I have no responsibility to live up to what other’s expect of me. That’s their mistake, not my failing” – Richard Feynman
5) CHOOSE to Begin
Getting started is often the hardest part, so just begin. Apply the 10-minute rule whereby you apply yourself for 10 minutes to a task that could be overwhelming. After 10 minutes, you are most likely to find yourself in a state of flow whereby completing the task is manageable. If, after starting, the task remains gargantuan, it could be time to reassess why you are taking it on. Remember that challenges and stretching yourself should always be central to your goals, but so should enjoyment and fulfilment.
“It’s never too late to be what you might have been” – George Eliot
Hi, I’m Sarah, founder of Pivot Point. If the article above resonated with you and you would like to see how I can help you take your next steps towards defining success, please get in touch. I offer a complimentary assessment call to eligible candidates. Get in touch to see how you could benefit from a coaching session with me.