Through my own pursuit of success, I have discovered there are not only misperceptions about success, but a pervasive lie in the world today. The “Success Lie” has become an epidemic because so many people have bought into it and don’t even realize it. Entrepreneurs and business professionals everywhere have bought into the lie that success means more, more, and more. To achieve success, you must do more, work harder and sacrificing everything — even your health or family. People are overcommitted, overscheduled, and overwhelmed.
As a seasoned entrepreneur and high-performance coach, I have worked with many business leaders who have achieved success only to be left with an empty feeling. Even with times of major success, there has been a gap — the space between what is and what could be. The gap can be recognized when, despite the amount of success you have had, you feel something is missing; you may feel empty or completely overwhelmed. Or perhaps drained to the point where you are not sure where to turn.
There is another way to approach this challenge. I have been on this treadmill myself, and the process of constantly striving day in and day out – even if it ultimately brings crazy success – often leaves one exhausted, unsatisfied and still wanting more. It can damage your health, your relationships and all the things that really matter most. After years of striving, I found myself in a situation where my family was doing well and I had achieved my dream of building a successful business. Yet somehow, despite all of this, I was left feeling somewhat empty and confused. Even with all that I had accomplished, I was left feeling like it wasn’t enough. I realized that instead of being in the driver’s seat of my life, I had taken a back seat, allowing societal pressures to tell me what mattered.
Once this became clear, I got myself off the treadmill and made the decision to take back my life. It was time to decide what true success meant to me, and you should do the same.
Take these steps to begin defining your true success:
1. Become Aware
First, realize that the life you are living is not working for you and certainly not the one you were destined to have. Achieving this first step of awareness is incredibly freeing and empowering. Once you’ve made this discovery, you can then make the choice to move forward and do things differently. Identify specifically the areas of your life where you are off track and want to make changes.
2. Picture a Better Future
Take time to identify for yourself what your best life looks like. It helps to start with a future goal. Picture yourself three years from now living a life that is meaningful to you. What does it look like? Ask yourself who you are spending time with and how those relationships feel. What are you doing with your time? What is the contribution you are making to the world?
3. Take Action
Once you have a clear picture in your mind of the future you wish to have, you can begin to create a life of your own design. Decide what is most important to you, then take action to gain control of your life. Only when living such a life are you aligned in your values, living your purpose, loving your work, and positively impacting your family and community.
To learn more, check out my book, The Success Lie: 5 Simple Truths to Overcome Overwhelm and Achieve Peace of Mind. In it, I provide a proven strategy to let go of the common misperceptions of success to instead created a life of fulfillment and true significance. When you design and then live your own idea of success versus some else’s, you will know true entrepreneurial freedom. Determine what this looks like for you and you will be on the path to your biggest future!
Originally published on Quora.