What is success really defined as? What does success mean to you? What does success look like to you? I suppose it depends on what you are aiming to achieve – whether academically, in sport, in business or maybe even in your career. Each situation has a different image of success but usually that success is associated with a series of focused actions taken to reach a specific goal. At least that is how I saw success but I wish to share how I had to, consciously, re-frame the image of success in my mind because of a series of “failures” I had faced over a three year period.
In April 2017, I had no choice but to close down my second business venture as I wasn’t seeing the kind of financial success for the amount of countless hours of work I was putting in. While it was successful in many other areas, it was lacking in what I considered to be one of the most important areas. It was exhausting me – I no longer knew the difference between a weekday and a weekend. I missed spending time with my family, my kids missed me and everyone was cranky in general.
It was heartbreaking to shutdown my labour of love as I truly believed in what I did. Just like many others, I thought I was here to change the world, I had what it took and I would bring about a movement that would redefine the way women of my culture thought. Sometimes, belief and hard work just isn’t enough. What I was chasing after wasn’t aligned with my core values which is why I struggled but I will save this for another article.
Until I closed down my business, I had no issues at all in taking whatever action was necessary to move forward, on a daily basis. Writing a guest post for a popular website, eagerly waiting for comments, likes and shares. Holding my breath as some found their way back to my website and filled out the “contact us” page. Creating Opt-in pages, offering delightful freebies in hopes of creating an email list. Webinars, sales pages, course creation – you name it, I did it, without hesitation especially considering that I don’t have a tech background and I self-taught myself so many of these technical skills. Nothing held me back from taking whatever action was necessary in order to move forward with my business.
In the months that followed after I closed down my business, I struggled. With what? Taking action – any action, at all. After experiencing two unsuccessful business ventures despite working hard and taking action, every single day, I had come to believe that hard work doesn’t yield success, taking action will not lead me to accomplishing anything that I truly desire. At least, that is what my experiences led me to believe.
I was gripped with fear. Fear that took over anything I remotely wanted to do, even doing the simplest of things – writing a pitch, emailing a potential client. Thoughts suffocated me. What if I touch this and it turns to ashes too?
I went into a downward spiral. Being a bit of a fitness fanatic, my nutrition slipped, I gained weight and I lost interest in everything. I worked out for the sake of it, to feel less guilty about the horrible nutrition choices. I knew something had to change but I struggled to take any action, in my mind, no matter what action I took, I wouldn’t succeed.
The new year rolled in and I had the opportunity to start fresh with a new fitness program – this has always been my “go to” solution when nothing else is working for me. This is the one thing where I can take (physical) action and see results. I needed something to challenge me and to re-frame my mindset. I needed to rework how I thought and the first step for me was redefining what success looks like. And that redefinition was this: success is not the end result of an action but taking action in itself is defined as success.
This redefinition of success filtered through to everything I did: every meal and snack consumed at the right time, in the right portions equalled success, every move, every rep completed equalled success. I was successful everyday because I took action everyday, the action equalled success. There were no more half-hearted efforts in anything I did – nutrition, workouts and even in life itself.
This simple act of following my fitness program to the very last detail enabled me to re-frame the image of success in my mind, it became about being able to take action without allowing the end result of that action to grip me in fear of failure. It became about taking the action, irrespective of the end result of that action.
The courage I built through my fitness program enabled me to write my story of hope, a story I kept buried deep down inside of me for many years, of the bullying I faced as a pre-teen in boarding school. My story of hope was published, via an online press release, across 502 websites including local news sites under internationally recognised authority brands such as ABC, Fox and NBC!
Take action without focusing on what you wish the end result of that said action to be, consider taking action as success in itself. You will move leaps and bounds ahead with this mindset!