A small word, only 7 letters. Yet it embodies so much of your dreams, goals, hopes and desires. We all say we want to be successful, that we want success. But, when did you last sit down and define what success is for you?
I use ‘for you’ deliberately. So often you are looking for someone else’s version of success and not your own. Your idea of success is based on your parents, teachers, friends, colleagues & bosses’ opinions; or tradition, hierarchy, & societal expectations among other things. Harbouring and nurturing expectations from childhood in your subconscious, you follow other people’s career paths for yourself.
The reality is you don’t know you’re doing this. Because you may think you’re happy now but at some point, you’re going to stop and think what the hell have I done. Or maybe you’re not happy now but you can’t put your finger on the problem, you just know something isn’t right.
What happens if one day it hits you that you’ve taken the wrong path…
I did this for years. Spent my career trying to fulfil someone else’s idea of my success, trying so hard to follow a traditional career trajectory. But it wasn’t what I wanted to do; I just didn’t know it. Once I realised this and mapped out what I wanted, I can’t begin to tell you how I felt. Relieved, able to breathe, less stressed and overwhelmed, comfortable in my own skin. Do you want to know how I did it? How did I take myself to a point where I was able to say I was successful?
Yes! Let’s get this party started then…
Find your happy place first…
This is not going to be comfortable or easy my friend, but I promise it will be worth it.
Find somewhere you can focus. For me that’s an empty house listening to Classic FM or Runrig (never heard of them? They’re amazing…you’re seriously missing out).
You will have your own special space or environment where you can focus.
Go to that happy place.
Where are you now? How are you currently defining your success?
Carry out a self-assessment to get a thorough understanding of yourself. Yes, I’m sorry there is a little bit of ‘navel-gazing’ involved. Find where you are physically, mentally, emotionally, logistically, skills, abilities, qualifications etc.
Be thorough. Be honest. Even if it means exploring areas you are uncomfortable with, the effectiveness of the plan depends on how you handle this step.
Questions to ask yourself are:
- What do you have?
- Enjoyment – What do you enjoy doing?
- Balance – What is working for you and what is not working?
- Change – what would you change?
Where would you like to be? What does your own version of success look like?
This is about becoming comfortable with what you want from life, and your career. It’s worth doing this over more than one session to truly allow yourself time to explore in depth where you see yourself.
This is about understanding at this moment in time, right now, what would it take for you to say, ‘I am a success’. It might be wealth. But it equally might be health. All depends on you. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking this is all about money & role titles. There should be so much more than that. To give you an idea this is my current version of how I see success for myself:
- Owning my own home with land for my horses
- Being able to afford all my monthly bills with left over disposable income – I do not need to be rich just comfortable
- Having the freedom to spend time with my children when I choose
- Being able to take my children to/from school every day
- Being free to manage my life and career in the way I want
Questions to ask yourself are:
- Passion – what are you passionate about? What excites you?
- Enjoyment – what do you not enjoy doing? What would you like to do less of?
- Life – what you want from life? What does a successful life look like for you?
- Career – what do you want from your career? What does a successful career look like for you?
Create an action plan. A bridge from where you are now to success…
Take what you have now. And work out what you need to get to your own version of success. Then break it down into small, measurable and achievable action steps.
- Life success – what do you need to achieve that life success?
- Career success – what do you need to achieve that career success?
- Create an action plan.
Make sure you continue to walk your own path to success
This is key. Because if you can’t master this then you risk falling back onto someone else’s path. You risk getting to a point where you realise you have been following the wrong route.
Because you should be comfortable and confident in your own path. So, don’t compare yourself to others, they are following their own plan which may not be compatible with yours.
Don’t start trying to achieve something simply because someone else has.
Remember this is about you.
Get into the habit when people give you their opinions (and they will) of recognising that these are not necessarily yours. So, make your own decisions. And carve your own route through the mountain, you’re not a sheep!
Implement your plan to success
Don’t forget to actually do it. By this I mean implement that action plan and move forward. Only then will you truly achieve your own version of success.
Your life will start to become what you want it to be and you’ll find success starts to find you. Because you’re going for roles that excite you and you’re passionate about it will start to show through when you meet recruiters.
Nothing is Forever…
Understand also that this will change. It will change as you develop and grow. So, you need to keep re-visiting this to make sure you’re still aiming for your own version of success. Schedule it in your diary so you get reminders to make sure you’re still following the right path.
What was the right path 5 yrs. ago may no longer be – maybe you’ve got married, bought a house, or had children. Don’t underestimate the impact life events can have on how you view your future self.
Remember the road to success is always under construction….
You could also check out the ‘5 Best Tips to achieving Happiness TODAY’ if you’re looking for a very quick fix – it’s guaranteed to help you today…
If you need more help and support come and join the FREE Facebook Group: CVs, Careers & Success.