What is success and what does it mean to you? Success is not the same for every person, so why do we always seem to slip into trying a one-size-fits-all approach to what it means to be successful? Why is it so hard for us to figure out what success really means to us?
This is a topic that repeatedly comes up in my coaching business. Are you trying to figure out what is next for you or what your next step is? It is important when trying to figure that out, that you have a defined idea of what success really means to you. Not only that, however also your own “yardstick” or way of telling if you really measure up to that definition.
Why do we feel so much pressure? The reason you may feel like you’re not measuring up consistently is because you are using the wrong yardstick. Your definition of success gets polluted, bent and misshapen as time goes on. Your goals and aspirations will always continuously evolve as you evolve and accomplish certain things that you set out to accomplish.
Your yardstick needs to consistently grow and change with you. It’s very hard to remember to do this with your own definition of success. For example self employed people managing money always want to earn more and spend more.
Sometimes you just really need to understand that when we say “success” we are really searching for a deep-seated feeling of happiness. Success can look in so many different ways to different people, however it never fails that it is rooted in happiness. That’s when life starts looking and feeling the way you want it to. It can be very hard to get there and distractions are so easy to get caught up in as an entrepreneur.
It is easy to get caught up in doing what others “expect” for us to do, instead of following our heart or our own definition of success. Doing what others expect, you would get a lot of external encouragement and acknowledgement, however that doesn’t mean that it’s right for you.
Another common yardstick that can trip you up is the yardstick that measures your physical belongings and current life situation. Maybe you have the perfect house, that new car or the perfect body you’ve always wanted. You can be so proud of those things and accomplishments, however sometimes that is still the wrong yardstick for measuring your individual success.
Research has shown repeatedly that more “things” does not equal more happiness. Keep collecting more things, working out more or going on more luxurious trips that we think will “prove” to us that we are successful based on what we have seen in society of “successful people”.
Create your standards
It is important to really define success for yourself and keep the important things on your radar so you know if you are on your way. The first step is to determine your own standards. Don’t worry about how other people measure their success, what is truly important to you?
After establishing your standards, it is crucial to doing something that is related to your purpose and that is aligned with your passions. And lastly, focus on intrinsic goals, what will make you feel better instead of on money or time based goals.
Unfortunately, when you have so very much going on, it can be easy to allow yourself to become vulnerable to other people’s opinions or criticisms.
Being vulnerable can also cause you to reflect back on your short-comings and compare yourself to others and their seemingly amazing accomplishments. It can be very common to carry around negative self talk and that weight can very easily drag you down into unhealthy thoughts and patterns.
Overcome self criticism
It can be internal criticism within yourself or external criticism comparing yourself to others and both are equally as dangerous and damaging.
If you spend time comparing yourself to others, you are stealing your own joy. When we feel dragged down and engage in negative self talk, it can be very easy to slip into the habit of allowing ourselves to compare ourselves to others unrealistically.
Comparisons are really always unfair not in your favour, if you are in a negative mind space, you are looking through a filter of yourself that will always make you come up short. Don’t compare your worst self to someone else’s highlight reel on Facebook or Twitter. That is a skewed perception.
In this way, there is no way that you will ever be able to make a fair, unbiased comparison. And what do you have to gain from comparison? Making yourself feel bad will certainly not help you get the enthusiasm or energy to improve and get to where you want to be in your business or life goals.
We often compare certain metrics that don’t really, genuinely matter to us. You can’t allow yourself to compare yourself to others that don’t even align with your goals. Your priorities are different than others and comparing yourself to them will just drain your energy and foster negativity, unnecessarily.
When you are comparing yourself to someone else, one way to redirect that energy is to realise that you are focusing on the wrong person if you are spending time comparing yourself to others. The only person worth reflecting on and comparing yourself to is yourself. You will come out ahead if you only compare yourself to yourself.
You are always in the process of becoming, changing and growing. You are a product of your decisions. Avoid comparing yourself to people you read about in leadership articles or success magazines; it’s a very skewed perspective.
Sometimes, being an entrepreneur can be very trying and difficult for all of us and we will begin to feel like we have made a mess that we will never be able to fix. Have you ever felt a loss of control or disheartened and frustrated in your business? Have you felt like your business somewhere along the way just got away from you and your initial plans?
There are many great reasons to start a business. However unfortunately, more often than not, I wind up talking to people who feel like things grow out of their control and don’t know where to go from here.