What success looks or feels like to you?

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Does success matter much to you? If so, how does it look or feel like? Will you know if and when you achieve it?

For me, success used to mean climbing up the academic ladder. Then that ladder wobbled and I decided I wanted to be a best-selling author (I know, I know, even owning that feels a bit edgy). Having said that, what does it even mean to be a best-selling author? I have no idea. Perhaps it’s something that can sustain me financially? How much is it then? (I can hear crickets in response….)

In my experience, success was an idea that ‘when I have/do/know x, y and z’, I’ll finally be happy and feel better about myself. But guess what, that idea is a sure way to fail, because success is an ever-moving target.

Because most of the time success is externally determined.

– Professors at University are successful (compared to lecturers).
– Best-selling authors made it (compared to aspiring authors).
– Those who are rich are at the top of their game (compared to those who are just starting up).

Not only society dictates the rules on what being successful means, but it involves comparison. And by God there’s always someone who has more, does more and knows more….

By this point, you may disown the whole concept of ‘success’. Who cares what others think. Fair enough. But if somewhere in the back of your mind you do want to be successful at what you do, then a lack of clarity about what it feels or looks like will hold you back. Because if you don’t know what it means to you, how would you even recognise it?

Why do you then hold back from getting clear on what ‘success’ means to you?

Is it about committing to something and fear that you may get disappointed if you don’t ‘make it’? Is it fear to name what you want? Or perhaps it’s sitting with the discomfort of not knowing the answer. Because ultimately the only person who can define ‘success’ for you is… you.

Success can be sustainable only when it’s determined from within.

P.S. Enjoyed this post? Join me here to learn how I help writers to be successful at what they do.

P.P.S. No post from me next week. My kid is off school, so we’ll be catching up on play time.

14 thoughts on “What success looks or feels like to you?

  1. Success – is it as elusive as we think? We need to find and celebrate the small successes in the journey; the things that give us pleasure and satisfaction: lending a helping hand, finishing a project, playing with a child, guiding a child’s journey to adulthood. There are many ways to view success, it comes in many disguises and many packages. Sometimes we need to look to see, but it’s important to embrace each one.
    Enjoy the playtime with your son. Magic!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love your comment, Norah! That’s exactly it, isn’t it. There are so many ways to feel successful, if we choose to view it that way. If we don’t, we are just waiting for some big thing in the undetermined future which might feel like ‘success’. It makes the word so charged and unattainable.
      I can’t wait for playtime next week. Hope all is well in your world. Thank you for stopping by,

      Liked by 2 people

  2. My husband and I worked hard, offered a lot, to get were we are today; living in a big farmhouse, beautiful ‘stuff’, a lovely dog and most important a happy loving relationship. We learned/know it is not about being rich or owning a lot of material ‘stuff’ (can’t find the right English word), we absolutely do not take for granted what we accomplished… Yes…there are to large differences in the world between rich and poor…does it mean, we aren’t allowed to be successful? It really starts to feel like it more often nowadays.
    Rich people, politicians, bankers, CEO’s, successful actors and authors, etc. Apparently they are to blame for all what is wrong nowadays.
    We (my hubby and I) noticed, we stopped speaking freely about our accomplishments.
    Well, that had to change obviously 😉 Of course we don’t ‘show off’, but we are proud again. We still don’t share every successful growth we made, to be honest, because in this world it could even be unsafe to do so..
    Rambling on…Anyways, success is I think a very personal feeling. But the little joys in life, as Norah said..the small successes are the most important.
    XxX

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s an important point, Patty, you make about feeling safe to share your successes. It’s for a good reason, I think. I don’t think it’s necessarily the fault of successful people. It’s what happens to them in the public eye that can serve as a deterrent from ‘making’ it big. Who would want to be on a cover of a gossip magazine or whatever other way successful people get treated. It’s safer to connect from misfortunes and what’s not working. The smaller we are, the smaller target we become.
      I’m so glad you are turning this around and able to speak up about your achievements when and where feel safe.
      And thank you for speaking up in this space. I’m grateful for your courage and contribution. Much love. Gulara xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly. In addition, people seem to forget the successful people contribute a lot to our world. I sometimes even ponder…What if ‘they’ decided to only invest in and buy from each other? I think the difference between the rich and poor, the successful and less successful people would grow even bigger.
        It always comes down to the right balance, I think. Although, maybe also keeping in mind we humans need ‘triggers’ to stay challenged, to even want to progress.
        I always love to connect with and learn from you dear Gulara. Big hug. XxX

        Liked by 1 person

      • I used to think that something big and bad needs to happen for me to grow. Somehow, I thought I’d loose the incentive if everything was going smoothly and gracefully. I’ve changed my mind since then. We don’t need those challenges to keep growing. We can grow because we are inspired, because we want to make a meaningful contribution to the world, because we care…. And yes, money and success can be a vehicle to make a bigger and better contribution. Big hug xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, indeed…you are so right. It’s about choices you (want to) make…even in our darkest hours, it’s about finding that inspiration, wanting to make a meaningful contribution. Thank you for reminding me of that again.
        Enjoy your extra (free?) time next week 🙂
        Me and my little Dreampack will visit and relax in Spain for a couple of days next week.
        Counting down to the day we leave, haha
        So, I probably connect with you in two week again 😉 XxX

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I am wired so much to continually try to self improve that I am not sure I could ever feel solidly “successful”. My sense of success come more in the short term – did I do better than yesterday? I suppose being able to support myself while doing something I love without fear of losing it would also feel pretty successful as well though.

    Like

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