How Do You Measure Success?

Do you measure your success by… 

Your six figure salary?
If your bonus is bigger than last year?
How much you weigh?
The size of your home?
If you have a spouse/partner?
Who your circle of friends are?
The grades your child gets in school?
How well your child plays a sport?
How much you can cram into one day?
The number of hours you work each day?

Often, we achieve a level of success – a certain salary, weight, job title – and there’s a brief moment of feeling accomplished, but it doesn’t stick. We still want more.

I used to define my success by my salary and bonus (and a few of these other things!). It was the culture I worked in. It’s the society we live in.

Until it isn’t.

We have the power to shift our own perspective and definition of success.

But first it requires piecing together the authentic intention of our actions, identifying our fears, and beginning to heal any limiting beliefs. It is THEN when we can truly uncover what we want and move forward to get it.

It’s not easy. We hear from our parents, teachers, society from a young age…

“Work hard”
“Strive to get A’s”
“Got to a top college”
“The bigger the better”
“Skinny is beautiful”
“Be the best”

But why?

Do you find yourself wishing you could just be happy with status quo?
With doing a “good” job? With not being perfect?

When we define our success by what truly lights us up authentically at our core vs being driven by our fears, we create a more consistent level of happiness and satisfaction. And this can then inspire and move us forward in the direction we truly want to go vs where society has told us.

Defining Success for You

Defining your authentic definition of success can take some time. Here’s a few steps you can take to get the ball rolling.

1.) Find your fear. Ask “why?”

Take one of your current definitions of success and do what I call “WHY It Out”. You will get to a core belief about that goal. Then you can address any fears coming up and determine if they are true. Right now, you may not know these fears exist or are at the core of your success definition. This exercise will help uncover them.

 Here’s how:

Let’s take the goal “Make a big salary.” The “big” can be whatever you want it to mean. Now, ask “why?”  Here’s how that might look:

Why do I want the big salary? – because I need to save as much money as possible so I can quit my job in 5 years

Why do I want to quit my job in 5 years? – because I hate it but it pays me a lot of money

Why not quit now? – because I’ll never find anything that pays me this much and gives me this flexibility.

Why won’t I find anything that pays me this much with flexibility? – no one is going to hire me at my age (this is a possible fear)

Or the “why” may look this way…

Why do I want the big salary? – because I need to make enough to support me and my kids in case I get divorced

Why do I think I might get divorced? – because most people get divorced

Why do I think I’m like most people? – because I feel nervous about my marriage

Why do I feel nervous about my marriage? – because I’m getting older and my husband  might want a younger woman (this is a possible fear)

Once you uncover and become aware of the fears driving your current definitions of success, you can begin to address those fears. Meanwhile, you can start to figure out your new definitions.

2.) Create a new definition of success

It may take some time, as we are creatures of habit. Here’s an exercise you can do to take a look at your authentic successes. You may not realize how successful you really are!

To get the gist and give you a feel for defining success, we’re going to do a little reverse engineering. To make this easy and clear, let’s go back in time.

What do you consider your successes in 2017?
What pulls at your heart? What made you cry?

Maybe it WAS getting that raise. But what about it makes you feel like you are a success?

Was it because you are now toe-to-toe with men in your position and you feel you are being treated fairly?

Was it because you now can send your daughter to her choice college and this makes you feel excited to support her and her dreams?

Was it because you stood up and asked for it?

Many years ago at my old job, there was a distinct moment when the firm was making a financial decision I knew could impact my income down the line. My compensation review had been on HR and management’s desk for a few months and it wasn’t the squeaky wheel. When I realized the potential impact these immediate decisions could have on me, I reached out to HR and reminded them my boss was looking at my compensation for a possible raise. I’ll always remember the call from my boss telling me about my increase. While I do remember the numbers, how I define my success in this situation is the feeling I had afterwards. I was so proud of myself for standing up and asking for something in a professional, timely manner and for not hesitating to seize the day. I worked from home and remember hanging up from the call, standing up, walking into my hall, raising my arms up repeating:

“You don’t ask, you don’t get.”

To this day this story inspires me to seize a moment, leap and ask for what I want respectfully. These are some of my new success qualifications.

I have a hunch your 2017 success isn’t not the 20 pounds you lost or the new job you took or the new house you bought. There’s always going to be a body part you wish was better, another job you want, or a bigger house with a better layout.

It’s most likely the happy, confident, secure, free feeling 
these achievements gave you that you were seeking.

What were your successes from 2017? Take a moment and feel what pops up. Why do those successes make you proud or happy?

Notice how it feels to have these new definitions vs your usual ones. What’s the difference?

Now that you know this, you can use it as a criteria to guide you in developing your new success definition and criteria.

Wishing you much success!

By reading my blog, you acknowledge that I am not a licensed psychologist or health care professional and my services do not replace the care of psychologists or other healthcare professionals. Coaching is in no way to be construed or substituted as psychological counseling or any other type of therapy or medical advice. I will at all times exercise my best professional efforts, skills and care. However, I cannot guarantee the outcome of coaching efforts and/or recommendations on my blog and my comments about the outcome are expressions of opinion only. I cannot make any guarantees other than to deliver the coaching services purchased as described.