How to Slow Down and Create Your Own Definition of Success

An easy technique to leverage

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Bombarded with stressful situations, deadlines, responsibilities, and a society that highly values external “success”, i.e. our careers, the cars we drive, the neighborhood we live in, the exotic vacations we take, the brand names we wear, the clubs we belong to, etc., it can be challenging to discern what really motivates us, what matters most, what success looks like for us personally.

With these pressures, it’s not surprising that many of us find ourselves stuck in a career, job, or life situation where we feel disengaged or completely demotivated. 

Somewhat, our attachment to what others consider success and a deep desire to be accepted by our peers can keep us tethered to unwanted jobs, our current lifestyles, and unhealthy situations.

Ready to explore an alternative?

Checking in, what is your personal definition of success?

Really, what is it?

What is motivating you to do the work you’re doing?

Regardless of how successful you may look from the outside, what is happening inside?

How do you speak to yourself? As you would talk to your best friend, or as an enemy of the state?

Are you compassionate with yourself, or regularly beat yourself up for not having said or done the right thing?

Moderately receptive to other’s opinion of overly concerned about what people think of you?

Do you flow with the day’s events or squander your energy defending, protecting, one-upping, withdrawing, or disengaging to make it through the day unscathed?

Do you often feel moments of internal peace and silence or habitually suffer from incessant inner chatter, run scripts in your head about future conversations, and constantly worry about the future?

How do you break out of this cycle?

We all experience these challenges to some degree. If you find yourself often leaning towards the far right of the scale on these scenarios, it’ could be a flag that your thoughts and your mind may be running amok, running the show, driving the bus.

One alternative to breaking this cycle is to learn to meditate. 

I remember first trying mindfulness meditation about 10 years ago, amidst a stressful daily commute, a demanding career in financial services, and being a new mom, juggling it all at once. 

What meditation taught me back then was to slow down and be in the moment, feeling whatever I was feeling, and tapping into my body, my inner wisdom.

Since I started meditating, staying present, calming the mind so that it works for me not against me, I’ve improved my concentration, creativity, well-being, and inner peace. 

Many studies demonstrate how meditation can also help with insomnia, depression, high blood pressure, etc.

Creating this deep connection with my inner-self began to shine a light on what is important in my life, what really matters, what brings me true, lasting happiness. 

In other words, it helped me connect with my unique definition of success. And what a relief…I started doing things that felt good to do, not those that I thought would make me look good to others. 

I started saying no.

As I connected deeply within myself, I also began to gain an appreciation and self-love, which manifested in treating myself with the type of kindness I would offer a good friend, recognizing what drives me, and empowering myself to make life choices aligned with how I want to be and feel in this world, not adhering to others’ notion of success.

Breaking old patterns of thinking and reacting is definitely the proverbial journey and not a destination. 

If you so choose this journey, you will be amazed at the transformation and results you’ll begin to feel right away. 

Seek support from others you trust who are on the journey, and most important, tap into your own infinite wisdom, which is patiently waiting for you to listen. 

Do what feels right and go for it.

Helpful references

If you don’t have a favorite method of meditation, the simplest one I know goes like this.

Sit comfortably, close your eyes, start counting from one to ten with the rhythm of your breath, when you get to ten, start back up at one, repeat. If you go beyond ten, which is not uncommon, as soon as you catch yourself, start back at one. 

Start by setting your smartphone timer for a five-minute meditation, then ten minutes, until you reach 20-minute sittings. If you can do this twice a day, morning and afternoon, it’s even better. 

Try it for one week and see how you feel. I will say, the longer I’ve done it, the more I enjoy it. I even crave it and look forward to sitting and just being for that time.

Learn Transcendental Meditation or Other Methods

You can also search YouTube for “guided meditations.” Or check out your local Transcendental Meditation (TM) center. 

Learning TM is easy and fast. I learned over a weekend in 2015 at the TM center in Downtown, Manhattan. 

As a TM practitioner, meditating regularly twice a day for 20 minutes each time has transformed my life, allowing me to put everything in perspective, and slowing me down when life tries to get stressful.

If the cost of learning TM is prohibitive, MUSE is another alternative. With a smartphone app and the MUSE headband, you can get instructions on different guided meditation techniques, choose background sounds, track your sessions, and complete challenges if you’d like.

Some of my favorite books on mindfulness and meditation include Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now; Michael Singer’s Untethered Soul & The Surrender Experiment; Timber Hawkeye’s Buddhist Boot Camp.

Meditation is a powerful, go-to tool in my well-being took-kit, creating calm, peace, and self-awareness to disassociate from beliefs and patterns that were keeping me shackled to external expectations.

As the self-connection deepens, the self-love amplifies, self-worth growths, and you begin to surrender societal norms and start embracing your own path. 

You’ll know you are on your true path when you feel peaceful and balanced, when how you feel inside matches how you are showing up in work and life.

Happy meditating!

In the meantime…

Be fearless! (act despite the fear)

Dr. Ginny A. Baro

Dr. Ginny Baro specializes in helping to develop leaders at all levels of management, as well as helping individuals who are navigating a corporate hierarchy, moving into an entirely new phase of their professional career, or experiencing a major life transition.
Interested in a Complimentary Consultation? Here’s her online calendar where you can find the best day/time that works with your schedule.
For more of her work, join her community to receive valuable strategies delivered to your inbox and read other articles on her blog, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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