By Lori Hanson
Have you ever taken a minute to define what success is…to you? The definition of success from an early age is determined by those in authority; our teachers, parents, grandparents or the baby sitter. Learned success from an early age can carry with it a lot of judgment—subjective judgment, except where rules and expectations are clearly defined. Still those rules and expectations were set by someone else.
Meeting or missing those expectations leaves you with a sense of success or failure. But what if you don’t agree with the rules or the approach on how to get there? What if the definition of success you were taught as a child just doesn’t measure up? If your parents wanted you to get a stable job and be a doctor or a lawyer and you had a passion for theatre, their definition of success and yours don’t create the same solution to the equation.
As you begin to question the rules and expectations of your childhood, create your own desires and set goals you want to achieve, you may define the level of success you have reached by the material possessions you have, people you’ve helped, or wealth you’ve achieved. But none of these things last, they are just moments in time. Very quickly you or your boss will return to the question, “What have you done for me lately?” You’re only as good as your latest accomplishment and that can lead to a sense of failure from not having reached your latest goals.
You have a choice how you define success for yourself. And success really is just a state of mind. If you reached a small goal you set for yourself today that no one else cares about, you were successful! That feel good emotion you have is merely a state of mind that you created because you accomplished something you set out to do. And it does feel good, because success is a state of mind.
If you did not reach your goal today, does it mean you’ve failed? Could it just mean you need more time, a different resource, more persistence and determination? Failure too is merely a state of mind and one that is easy to get trapped in when things don’t go as you expected them to. But in every missed goal, there is an opportunity, a lesson to be learned and a gift that will lead you to the future.
What have you learned today that brings you a feeling of success, or an opportunity to persist?