We often feel as though we are falling short of standards, but whose standards are we holding ourselves up to? Do we define success by how much money we make? Or does the accumulation of material things or property equal success? How about a professional and high-flying job? Does a clean house and academically superior children mean success? Hell no! Not on my watch. I’m going to create my own definition of success, instead of trying to live up to someone else’s idea of what success means. Are you with me?
For women, we are supposed to “have it all” and by have it all, they mean do it all, which is exhausting and impossible. I am supposed to be thin, make every meal a home cooked one, have a spotless house, work all day, do all the school visits and still have time (and energy) to get it on with my fella at the end of the day! Don’t even get me started on the vilification of both working and stay at home mothers! No wonder we feel like we’re failing.
Then we have social media, with its endless supply of perfect pictures of perfect families in their perfect homes. It’s inevitable that we compare ourselves to these posts and images and feel inadequate. We don’t see the arguments, the financial struggles, the embarrassing moments, the unflattering photos and the untidy homes. We must stop comparing our lives to this false standard.
What Does Success Mean to You?
Time to come up with something wonderful and uniquely you! You’re going to create your own definition of success, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it’s probably not about money. Who would get to the end of their life and be like, “God, I just wish I made more money”?
No one. Well, maybe Mr Krabs.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t have income related goals, just that you shouldn’t feel like you failed at life because you didn’t get rich. Your definition of success should link up to your personal values and mission statement. I think success shouldn’t be an end game, it should be a process of personal growth which, if you’re looking for some tips, could include the following…
Do you smile at strangers? Do you offer to help the old woman who can’t reach the cornflakes at the supermarket? Then you’re already doing it! We can level up in this area by weaving in random acts of kindness, getting involved in community and charity projects and making a conscious effort to care about people every day. What can you do today to help someone?
Across your lifetime you could learn so much, if you built it into an everyday habit. Make time for regular reading, do the courses you’ve always wanted to and don’t let anything stand in your way. Learning is a big part of personal growth and a strong investment in yourself, which will likely lead to better opportunities and an improved quality of life.
Look After Yourself
Looking after our mental and physical health is paramount. How can we focus our energy on achieving goals without it? We need the basic building blocks of a good night’s sleep (8 hours is the gold standard), eating real food (biscuits and crisps don’t count) and regular exercise (walking to the pub isn’t gonna cut it).
Spending Time with People you Love
Who matters to you? If your family and friends are important to you, tell them. Don’t be afraid to say, “I love you”. Make an effort to reconnect with family and friends you haven’t seen for a while, then make it a regular appointment. Visit your nana and listen to her talk about her many ailments. Message your oldest friend, who you never see any more because the never ending to-do list of your daily lives has taken over.
Self-love and Self-acceptance
Like your health, if you don’t have this (and we all need to work on it) it becomes difficult to have anything else. When you have goals in your life and you don’t love yourself, you will sabotage your own chance of success because you feel undeserving and unworthy. You can work on your critical inner voice and self-sabotage tendencies by using your gratitude journal. This will help to shift your mindset to a positive one, so that you can support and guide yourself towards success.
We can all be creative, and it comes naturally to us when we are children, but the harsh realities of adult life can start to wear this away. Our focus is on what we think we need to do, rather than what we’d like to do. We can be creative in many different ways, so if art isn’t your thing, invent, design, develop, play, act, make music, write a poem, create a story or make a video. Whatever you learn you can become creative in, so follow your passion and see where it takes you.
These might not seem like markers of success, but they are definitely more important than money, status, power and owning stuff! Whether you focus on the impact you have on other people, spending time with those you love, working on your personal passion or something completely different, remember that you get to decide what is important in your life. Pursue what matters to you and allow yourself to feel a sense of achievement. You’re a success on your own terms.