How do YOU define success? Is it becoming a TV celebrity and having millions of Twitter followers? Creating a start-up that sells for $500 million? Becoming the next Michael Jordan of your favorite sport?
Or is it your neighbor down the street that just paid cash for their new BMW and has bought a beach house down south.
Because at the end of the day we can’t all become celebrities, millionaire entrepreneurs, and professional athletes. In the real world, a lot of us will strive to be more like that neighbor down the street, and that’s OK!
Would it be amazing to be able to walk into a restaurant and not have to pay your bill, or to fly your private jet around the world and land on your very own island?
Yea, damn right it would be!
However amazing as this all sounds wouldn’t you also be satisfied with being able to go to an expensive restaurant and afford to pay the bill without stress? Wouldn’t it be pretty cool to book an around the world ticket in first class and go island hopping? Consequently, you don’t need your very own private island to be able to enjoy some peace and quiet on the beach, you can book a private bungalow or getaway experience that will offer the same thing, or close to it at a fraction of the cost.
That said, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive for the private island and jet. Although redefining success for you will help you understand that life’s luxuries aren’t as far out of reach as you think.
If all you dream about is reaching the top echelon, that’s a daunting task. We are talking about the difference between having a few million in the bank versus a few hundred million.
Because that task seems so far out of reach, you’ll never take action on your quest for success, even though it may be closer then it seems. By redefining what your idea of success is in real terms can help you realize that you may already be successful in some area’s in your life and others can be achieved, with some dedication and hard work.
Redefining Success Columns
The basics of success are satisfying all of your needs and wants. But to do this, you’ll have to define what those wants are and create a plan on how to achieve them.
Furthermore, what you might define as success, your friends might not. We all have different needs and desires and there is no cookie cutter solution for everyone. To understand success, you’ll have to answer a very simple question,
“What will make you happy in all aspects of your life?”
This can include stable relationship, circle of family and friends, good mental and physical health, financial comfort, great job etc. Each of the following 4 success columns has been derived from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. And for those of you who may need a refresher (I know I did) here is the breakdown.
*Note: These scenarios are used as examples and written as if they were your own. You can choose from the list and add your own idea’s that will satisfy your definition of success for each column.
1. Personal Success
Maslow’s Self-Actualization – Achieving one’s full potential, including creative activities
I am in a good place and happy with my self. This can come from working on becoming the best version of yourself. Building self-confidence and discipline, taking care of your mental & physical health, setting and achieve your goals.
What would you consider to be a good lifestyle to achieve?
I keep regularly active and have good eating habits. I don’t feel lazy and feel fit to take on the day and its many challenges. I’m getting enough sleep and I am satisfied with my personal development and continue to learn. When I set goals I strive to achieve them and don’t give up at the first sign of a challenge.
I practice mental health and have coping mechanisms for when I’m stressed or under pressure. I am positive about my life and what the future has to hold.
I’m in tune with my daily mental being and can identify my emotions with my actions
“ I didn’t get much sleep, now I’m cranky, that must be why I’m snapping at everyone who asks me a question…”
2. Relationship Success
Maslow’s Belongingness and Love Needs – Intimate relationships, friends
Do you have intimate relationships, connections with friends and people you can count on? What relationships in your life are you satisfied with or need improvement?
I have a circle of friends that I hang out with on weekends and after work. My work colleagues and I get along enough to enjoy grabbing a coffee or a beer after hours. I have a few friends that I can really count on when in need and can always be myself around without thinking about it.
My family and keep in touch with them on a regular basis. I am interested in what is going on in their lives and give them insight into my own life. We show our appreciation for each other, not just around holidays.
I have a loving partner or I am open to new relationships that will make me a better person. We support each other in our goals and have open communication. We make an effort to make each other happy and show genuine interest in each other’s days. I understand things can get tough although we work together to resolve any issues that arise.
3. Financial Success
Maslow’s Self-Actualization Needs – Achieving one’s full potential, including creative activities
You may have classified this as Maslow’s Safety & Physiological needs, which is described as security, safety, food, water, warmth and rest. But for the sake of this article, I will assume that your basic needs are being met and your financial success is based on more than just the basics…
I have the financial freedom to make purchases without regret. My monthly expenses consist of non-necessities, while my house and car are paid off. I can take my family on annual holidays.
I have multiple streams of income that I can rely on for financing my lifestyle. My savings grow every month and I’m on target with my retirement goals. If anything happens to my job, I have enough money to survive for 6 months while looking for another one.
4. Career Success
Maslow’s Esteem Needs – Prestige and feeling of accomplishment
I am happy with my position and the business I work with. My work has value and my performance contributes to the company. I am satisfied with the business leadership and trust in their abilities (most of the time). I feel accomplished in my job and am deserving of my title.
There is potential to advance my career or use this as a stepping-stone to another business or industry. There is a reason I am here right now and even if not all of my needs are being met, this will help me achieve them. The job market is difficult and as I cannot meet my basic needs without income, I will stay at this job until I find one that will better satisfy my needs.
Success Breeds Confidence
Why is it when you succeed, you feel like you can achieve even more? Probably because success builds momentum and small wins lay the foundation for bigger wins. When you achieve a goal, it will provide you with the confidence to strive for success again. But you can only build your confidence by reaching success and not giving up on yourself. You must squash self-doubt and believe in yourself, just as you did when you first embarked on your goal. Always return to that moment you decided to accomplish something and the belief that you had in yourself (don’t squander it!).
Now, you understand the theory behind it all but now it’s time to take action! Fill out the action plan below to redefine success in your life. This will help provide a better direction at what you should strive for and where you currently stand. The next step is determining how to reach those goals, which I’ll cover in my next article “How to plan for success”.