What does success mean to you?

Do you ever get the feeling the universe is shouting something at you really loudly? Like it just won’t shut up until you accept what it’s telling you? 

That’s how I feel about this question: What does success mean to you?

It first popped into my consciousness in an email from health and business coach Wholeheartedly Laura (she has an amazing mailing list by the way, I highly recommend you join for great inspiration). 

Laura explained how she’d found herself feeling envious watching someone on social media post about their achievements.  And who hasn’t felt that before?! It made Laura question herself and what success was to her. Did it need to look exactly like this friend’s success? Just because she didn’t have the same car, house, holiday, business – did that mean she was less successful? 

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Then I read Jen Sincero’s How to Be a Badass- a book I recommended in my May Papers From The Pantry, you can sign up to receive them too here

Jen covers this topic of success as well. She recommends that if you want to build the life you want, you should envision it crystal clear. Write it down, feel it, live it, meditate on it and repeat over and over how your life will look and be. In order to do that it needs to be a life and a version of success that really means something to you. Otherwise it won’t stick. 

And then in the last few weeks I’ve had conversations with so many women and listened to so many talks where the questions of success has popped up that I’ve actually started rolling my eyes and nodding like a maniac to myself because I know I need to address it. 

Jen Carrington interviewed musician Yasamin Al-Tiay in her podcast Make It Happen. Yasamin admitted that despite ticking off all the things she wanted to achieve in her music career last year she realised it didn’t make her happy. What she thought was success was actually someone else’s version and she needed to redefine success for herself. 

A friend of mine has recently been let down by a university buddy he held on a pedestal as the picture of success. It’s made him question what success really is to him, unravelled his belief system and required him to go back to a blank sheet of paper to work out what a successful life is for him. 

 Andrea Horan at Creative Mornings Dublin (apologies for low quality pic!)

Andrea Horan at Creative Mornings Dublin (apologies for low quality pic!)

And Creative Mornings Dublin speaker Andrea Horan spoke about the phenomenal success of her nail bar Tropical Popical and realising that she didn’t want it to become a huge international chain. That success to her was the community she created in her one premises and the ability to go onto the floor and meet customers and add joy to their lives. Not building a global empire. 

(Interestingly this thing about the universe shouting at you - it’s actually your brain tuning in to something that you told it you’re interested in. Your brain is processing about 40,000 pieces of information every second. It has to filter through them. When you learn something new like “what is success to you?” your brain latches onto it and keeps picking it out the next time you hear it. It’s called the Baader-Meinhoff phenomenon and loads of marketers use it, read more here. But it’s nice to think it’s the universe a bit too). 

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So, what is success to you? 

It’s very similar to the coaching question “What do you want from your life and why?” The why is super important too because it’s what will actually drive you to make changes. 

Here’s what success is to me:

  • A career that allows me to write, a passion I have always had 
  • A life that gives me time to spend with family and friends and the flexibility to travel to be with them as often as I like 
  • The ability to save comfortably and not worry about money 
  • A job (or jobs!) that make me feel I have impact and gain recognition. These are primary motivators for me and make me fulfilled 
  • Being the best partner, friend and family member I can be. Giving people I love and can help the support and advice they need, when they need it

When I read these back now I smile. Because you know what? I’m already living a lot of them. I’m already achieving success on my terms. And if I’m not living them right now I’m doing my damn hardest to reach them in the very near future. 

Can you come up with 3-5 definitions of success to you?

Wholeheartedly Laura has a blog post from a few years back on this topic of defining success here if you want to dig deeper. 

If you really want to focus on what success is to you and the steps you could be taking to create that life, why not join us on a Reset retreatThe Reset is designed for women like you, by women like you (one of them is me!). Find out more here

I’d love to know what you think. What is success to you? Please do share in the comments or join the conversation on social media. 

What does success mean to you