FORGE & THRIVE
Create a better life one step at a time
What does success mean to you?
The most important thing you need to do when taking steps to improve your life is to be really clear about your own definition of success.
Don’t look to other people
It’s easy to fall into the trap of aligning your goals to other people’s views of success but this won’t lead to contentment.
It’s tempting to look at someone different to ourselves and judge them as successful, even be envious of them.
You can look at someone with a big house, expensive car, designer handbags, successful business and flawless beach body and assume their life must be amazing.
Or, if you already have all those things yourself, you might look at someone who lives in a small house but is able to do the school pick up, read bedtime stories and go on camping adventures with their kids and judge them as successful.
Without knowing if those people are happy you can’t pass judgement as to whether they are successful or not.
The person with the big house might be stressed out from long commutes and long working hours. They might be in an unhappy relationship. Everything they own might be bought on credit cards. They might be worried about paying the bills.
The person in the smaller house might have sleepless nights worrying about debt. They might wish they could afford to pay for family holidays or be able to afford the hobbies the kids witter about incessantly.
OR they might both be loving the lives they’ve created.
You have no way of knowing how they feel or what they aspire to.
It’s pointless to look to others to define success.
You need to really carefully think about what would make you, and your family if you have one, happy.
What would make you feel successful?
Success to me is being time rich. Having the time to do the things I love; family adventures, going to the beach, walking, wildlife watching.
It’s important to me that Andrew and Jack also have time for the things they love. I wouldn’t feel successful if I had all the time in the world to do my things while Andrew worked 60 hours a week and was too exhausted to enjoy his time off.
Success to me is also living in a warm, comfortable house and being able to pay the bills without worry.
I honestly don’t care what car we drive, or how old it is. It just need to be safe, reliable and be able to fit all the teenager’s fishing gear in. I don’t want to live in a giant house with rooms that were never used. I don’t wear jewellery or watches (I lose it all!). I don’t wear fancy clothes – they’d be no good on the beach!
This is my definition of success. Yours might be very different.
I already feel successful. My life has been careful created. I’m careful to ignore outside influence of what society (or rather marketing) tells me success looks like.
But just because I’m already successful and very grateful for all the things I have and all the things I get to do in my life right now it doesn’t mean I’m not aspiring for more.
Aspiring for more doesn’t mean I’m not grateful for what I have now. It’s ingrained in us that if we’re content we shouldn’t want anything else. We should just to be grateful for what we’ve got and not be greedy.
But being grateful and aspiring for more success aren’t mutually exclusive.
I’m incredibly grateful for how amazing my life is. But there are other things I’m working on achieving.
I want a campervan so that my office can be truly mobile and I can spend the three hours a day I work in any location I choose.
I’d like to spend a few weeks in Scotland in a house on the edge of a loch. The teenager could fish, there would be walks and kayaking on the doorstep and an abundance of wildlife. I’d like to write a book (whilst at the house on the loch).
I’m working on earning more money without increasing my working hours or stress levels.
I’m working on being able to give more back to the community (local and global).
My idea of success doesn’t include designer clothes or flash cars.
But it’s absolutely fine if yours does.
Take some time to work out what success means to you.
Being clear on your goals will help you to improve your life faster, have greater clarity when setting goals and give you the motivation to make the changes you want to your life.
Your definition of success isn’t set in stone.
As your life changes the things that make you feel successful, or more successful, will change.
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