Sean Kelly On How We Need To Redefine Success

Pay attention to life. Most of us have very short attention spans. We don’t actually pay attention to what’s happening around us. But when we do, we gain tremendous and unexpected insights into so many aspects of our lives. It’s always surprising how business insights can come from something like: watching a bird fly on […]

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Pay attention to life. Most of us have very short attention spans. We don’t actually pay attention to what’s happening around us. But when we do, we gain tremendous and unexpected insights into so many aspects of our lives. It’s always surprising how business insights can come from something like: watching a bird fly on simple thermal wind drafts.


Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.

As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Sean Kelly.

Sean is a co-founder of BookRetreats.com, a company providing retreat and wellness packages to people. He’s been running the business for years now and throughout his encounter with his clients, he saw how they improve their life by doing physical and mental exercises.


Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?

Good question.

I’d probably start with the first time I sat in front of a guru whose presence just seemed to fill the room. I had never actually felt a presence like it.

It was like he was just exuding love, and it permeated the whole space. And I don’t know why, but I just started to cry.

As though I had been approaching life as this challenge of carrying this big backpack up a hill. A fun challenge I was up for…

…but sitting there, I felt (maybe for the first time) that I could just completely drop the bag.

Let go.

And that relief brought a natural upswelling of tears. Tears of deep relief.

We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?

You know I don’t even know what I used to believe about success.

But I do think I used to believe growing up: to have a complete life, I needed to have a wife and kids. That was just a part of a complete life.

How has your definition of success changed?

Once I started exploring deeper into spirituality, I felt like: you know what….this being is a complete life by itself.

And it can add wonderful things like a wife, children, etc. But they are wonderful additions.

The core is already complete.

The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic?

The pandemic has been one of the biggest lessons in a simple fact:

Interdependence.

We all rely on each other. Whether it’s taking care of people close to us when they’re sick, or it’s the global supply chains, or even the fact that…

…we literally share large amounts of air with each other.

What I breathe out, you breathe in. And vice versa. We have that relationship with trees and with each other. And it’s too bad it took an airborne virus to really hammer that reality home.

What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.

Massive education around viruses.

The level of knowledge of immunology and virology amongst the average human has gone up in a big way.

And we all got a chance to slow down and ask ourselves what aspects of society do we truly want to continue?

We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?” (Please share a story or example for each.)

First job: take care of yourself. If you’re a mess, most of what you do in the world is gonna be a mess too. We all have areas we can improve. The more you take on leadership roles, the more you see your results tend to mirror your own personality/strengths/weaknesses.

Pay attention to life. Most of us have very short attention spans. We don’t actually pay attention to what’s happening around us. But when we do, we gain tremendous and unexpected insights into so many aspects of our lives. It’s always surprising how business insights can come from something like: watching a bird fly on simple thermal wind drafts.

Be a part of something bigger. There’s a limit to how inspired you can be for small things. Take on big things, have a big vision. It’s fine if your actual activity is working on a small slice of that bigger vision. Still have that bigger vision. It will allow for endless growth and possibilities. Plus…it inspires others.

Empower others. There’s a limit to how much you can do yourself. If you don’t learn to guide, empower, and lead others, your impact will be minimal.

Focus on competence. Find how things actually work. Don’t fight against reality if it’s not working. Stay curious. Find out why. Experiment. Once you find the mechanics of how it actually works, you’ll see how well it flows. That discovery of how things work = competence.

How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?

If your definition of success is truly sincere and in alignment with your heart, your life will naturally improve as that success unfolds.

Don’t have to try and project too far ahead.

That unfolding of the unknown is part of the fun 🙂

What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?

Depends on the person. For some, the situation they grew up in might require them to overcome things that others don’t.

But we all can own one thing: our ability to respond to what life brings.

We can’t control what life itself will bring to our plate.

But we can be responsible for our response to it.

As long as we take responsibility in this way, we can overcome any obstacle with enough time, attention and energy focused on it.

Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?

I gather information from everywhere.

But I prefer to try and find the best people in their field. And then just listen to them.

They’ve already figured out what I’m interested to know.

Learning to find and discern who is legit and who is pretending is a skill itself.

Gotta develop that discernment.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.

Sadhguru.

Can’t say I’ve ever come across a more fascinating person in my life.

He’s the real-life version of “The Most Interesting Man in the World”.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can check out what we’re doing at BookRetreats.com (world’s #1 retreats platform) or sevasearch.org (search engine that feeds hungry children).

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.

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