How do you define success? In this very moment, considering your work and career, would you call yourself successful? Whether you answered yes or no, what were the measurements that you used? What’s on your checklist for how successful you deem yourself to be?
Many of us are striving for success and yet we don’t really know what that looks like for us. So we look around, at our friends, our peers, even strangers on the Internet, and as we absorb the cultural narrative into our consciousness, we get to work. Driving, striving, pushing, hustling, always trying to get to the next goal post. Climbing a ladder when we don’t even know if it’s against the right wall. Running our businesses and careers like crazy women when we’re not even sure if the work is on purpose.
What are you driving for?
Pause for a moment. Grab a sheet of paper. A quarter of the way down the page, draw a horizontal line. Below that line, write a list of all the things that really matter to you in this life, as many as you can think of. Family, friends, money, abundance, health, wellbeing, happiness, creativity, freedom, spirituality, service, spaciousness, activism, culture, art, children, relationships, business, philanthropy, community, legacy. Get it all down.
Now choose three to five things that are the absolutely most important things in your work and life. Really feel into it. These are the things that matter more than anything else on the list.
Write those selected few things above the line.
This is what success looks like for you, these items above the line. These are the things that matter. These are your yes items. When you find yourself driving and striving for success, check in with yourself: Does this even matter to you? Does it relate to something on your above the line list?
If yes, go. If not, stop and reconsider whether what you are doing matters.
We need to be intentional about how we define our success because it drives our decisions and our actions. Every day we trade our time and energy for something. Make sure it’s not your integrity, your dreams, or what matters most to you that you are trading away for a version of success that isn’t even your own.