We All Have a Story
When I sit down and look back on what I have achieved in my life, and in business, I realize it has been the result of a lot of hard work and planning. I have enjoyed a successful career in my chosen field. I have traveled, my list of friends overflows my fingers and my toes, and my children are happy and thriving. I, by an outsider's view, have lived a successful life. But what if I don't feel successful? What if I feel like I haven't reached my full potential, and as a result, I have failed?
In 2007, at age 40, I had a baby. It was my goal to have a baby before 41. On my first day back to work from maternity leave, I was met at the elevator by HR with a pink slip. After almost 12 years with the employer, I was emotionally devastated. I spent my 12 years there championing their cause, their dreams, and their profits. Where was I to turn? I was single, no one to depend on, and was blessed with two young children to raise. Success or failure?
Entrepreneurship as a vehicle to accomplish goals
I bought a few companies and merged them together. My goal was to never work for big corporate America again. I sought entrepreneurship as a vehicle to accomplish that goal. The two businesses were in the real estate space. We don't need to revisit what happened in 2008-2009 in Arizona with the real estate market crash, let's just say it didn't work out so well. I lost it all. Even my home. Success or failure?
Back to work, I went. My goal, this time, was survival. I spent the next 10 years building another successful company's cause. Helping the founder reach his dreams and to earn his profits. Once again, I helped to develop a brand and a multimillion-dollar business as a contributor. A contributor that was unappreciated and expendable, and only as good as my last deal. Success or failure?
Do you see a pattern?
While I set goals and accomplished them, I have spent the majority of my life defining my success by a yardstick that has no finish line. I have defined my success by my career, by my bank account and by the journey of others. I have come to realize that the journey to build my own success is a labyrinth of my own paths. Paths that only I can choose to take. It may feel like a marathon, but ultimately the finish line is mine to step over.
For the past two years, I have done a lot of goal setting to build my own successful brand. A personal brand and reputation that I could take with me to what I deemed a worthy cause. I set a goal to speak, I got on stage and spoke. I had a goal to write, I wrote. I knew I needed to learn more, I studied. I look for gaps then I work to fill those gaps. I look internally at areas that cause pain, and I make a change. I sought and found mentors, I ask relevant questions, I've done homework. I started implementing one focused subject at a time. I used two ears and one mouth. I became more aware of the actions that I take. I realized there was no reaction needed. I danced. I became aware.
In my awakening, I could hear messages from others that were perhaps always there, only now I was able to appreciate their words. I reached a point of realization that it isn't OK for me to wake up and jump on the hamster wheel with the masses. If I want to stand out in the world and create my own success and be the change I want to see, it needs to start the moment I wake up. I need to live with purpose. I need to know my mission in life, my values, I need to define my success on my own terms to achieve it. You see, I can make life happen for me and not to me. I am the victor, not the victim.
How do you define success?
It's a question that I challenge all my coaching clients with leaving many of them dazed and confused, unable to articulate a response.
If I were to ask you the same question, "how do you define success?" would you respond the same way as my clients have? Are you are nodding your head, yes, thinking, I just never thought of that question? I would venture to say that many industry professionals, even the ones we perceive as successful, still can't define what success means. So hey, you are not alone.
Everyone should define what success looks like. Whether it's personal or professional. I find that many people cannot put their finger on what success looks like for them. Maybe, success isn't really a thing that can be defined? Perhaps, success is the actual journey we take to reach our goals?
So, how do you define success?
So often, success is defined by someone else's limited definition of the term. This makes it challenging to wrap our minds around what success means in our own narrative. Whether we're looking at success from a personal aspect in parenting or relationships or if we're looking at success from an individual approach like in our careers - success can mean so many different things. So, I ask you, is there really an exact measurement?
There's no exact measurement of success, only how you perceive it. The only person who can define and measure success is YOU. I'm just giving you the outline you need to determine this for yourself.
"Success isn't a destination; it's a journey."
Success can feel very much like happiness. It feels good to be at the top. We all want our hard work to pay off, or we wouldn't put in the effort. It's the satisfaction that feels good rather than a tangible result.
Some may look at success as the amount of money in their bank account, while others look at success by the number of lives they've changed, including their own. Defining success all depends on yourself and the way you measure it in your mind.
Defining success impacts every aspect of your life. Motivation, confidence, sense of accomplishment, and even stress levels. Success is the underlying factor that keeps everything moving forward because the idea of success gives you something to strive for. This brings up a valid point - to achieve any form of success, you must set goals.
You can't define success without having goals.
If I were to ask you what you want to do in your life, and you respond with, "I don't know," you won't be able to define success. You can't reach success without having goals.
Let's say you were able to paint a picture of what your ideal life or career might be. Maybe it's having the perfect house on a beach or an income that allows you to afford a house on the beach - this ideal life and career could be defined as success. To achieve this "idea" of success, you would be required to set goals for yourself. Once you've reached those goals, no doubt, you would have reached your own definition of success.
Is this hitting home? Do you see what I mean when I say you can't achieve success without having goals? When you know the direction in which you want to go, you determine the goals you want to create to get you there. Once you reach your destination because you set those goals in place, you can feel the sweet satisfaction of arrival, making the process along your journey feel like a success.
Success is a feeling.
Just know, the definition of what success is, will be different for everyone. It all depends on your circumstances, your goals, and the unique situations that define you.
Some of the best questions to ponder while contemplating YOUR success feeling include subjects like money, lifestyle, and career. When exploring these topics, it's clear you can't reach any milestones without setting goals for yourself. Without goals, success isn't possible. So, let's look at a few of those questions:
How much money do I want to make?
How many hours do I want to work in a week to achieve that money?
Most importantly, how do I want to feel when working in my chosen career?
These questions make it possible to set goals for yourself and to determine what success feels like to you. Once you reach those goals, you will achieve success!
Now that you've read this let me ask you again, "How do you define success?"
In your own words, describe in the comment below how you envision success for yourself. If you are unsure of how you picture your success as an entrepreneur, let's chat!