“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.” — Zig Ziglar
Have you ever been frustrated with all the books and articles on how to be successful? It seems like every time I turn around I see another book or article explaining exactly what you need to do to be “successful.” However, the problem is that each of these books and articles are the author’s viewpoint or definition of success. If you follow their step-by-step procedures, you are assured to achieve success based on their definition of success.
However, very few people define success the same exact way, and I doubt your true definition of success aligns perfectly with anyone else’s. Before you can be “successful,” you must start by defining exactly what success is to you personally. If you follow somebody else’s tips to success, you may never find your success. Were all different, and that’s awesome… so let’s start there. Let’s start by defining what success is to us personally. Once we have that, we will be ready to pursue it!
Here are a few things to consider as you begin to define success:
1. Give it some Deep Thought
Your definition should not be simply jotted down on a napkin in a coffee shop (although that may be a good start). Instead, take some time to be by yourself and really think about what “success” looks like to you. It may take a week or two to really put it down on paper, but take your time. What do you see when you close your eyes and see a “successful you”? Be specific and lay out every detail of your life; work, home, community, where you live, who you help, what does your daily routine look like, etc. Dive deep into your successful world and imagine being there…step inside that world!
2. Question Everything
Once you have a good definition of what success looks like to you, start questioning every part of it. Drill-down by asking yourself why as many times as it takes. Question everything! Why are you living where you said you would be living? Why are you doing what you are doing? Why are you loving what you are doing? Why are you making “x” amount of money? Why are you associating with the people you see in your vision? Why, why, why!! Question every part of your definition to really start justifying your definition. You want to be able to justify every part.
Once you have put yourself through the “why” stage, rehash and rewrite your definition as needed. If you can’t answer the why questions, take additional time to discover the purpose of why you think that is a vital to your definition of success. You want your final definition of success to be exactly how you envision it. You want to be able to look at it and read it to others with full confidence and excitement, as if you are describing it as you are there.
4. Believe it
We are what we believe we are, even if we aren’t actually there at this exact moment. Once you have defined your definition, asked the why questions, and rehashed it to a final clear picture, it’s time for you to really start believing it. This is your definition of success; own it and believe it! Memorize it; tell others about it; start living it!
5. Set your priorities
Now that you have your definition of success, it’s time to start living intentionally to make it a reality. Your definition of success is now your “true north”; your compass! This isn’t going to happen without an intentional plan. You can begin by writing out a vision statement that aligns with your definition, and goals that will point you in the right direction. Everything you do will either lead you towards your definition of success or away from it. If you are staying in the same place, you are not moving towards your definition of success; take action!
6. Look at your definition often and follow through
We often set goals and priorities, and go all out to reach them for the first few days or weeks. Then we tend to go back to our old routine. If you want to achieve the success you took the time to define, you need to continually read it and work towards it. This is all possible only by refreshing our memories often; reviewing and considering our definition, goals, and priorities often. Whatever you have to do to remind yourself, do it. I write my definition, goals, and priorities down, and review them at least 4–5 times a week. Do whatever works for you, but make it a habit!
The bottom line is if we continue to follow other people’s tips on how to be successful, we will end up at their definition of success; this probably won’t align with our personal definition of success, and may not make us happy. If you really want to be successful, start by defining what success looks like to you personally. Once you do, start living intentionally to get there. Nobody can come up with specific plan to make you successful unless they know exactly what your definition of success is; the road to success must begin by envisioning what it looks like — every detail of it. Success is within reach of all of us once we know what it looks like. If you are frustrated and feeling unsuccessful, maybe it’s because you have been chasing somebody else’s idea of success… you can change that today!
“Run to Your Challenges… to Achieve Greatness & Stand Out Among Leaders!”
Originally published at medium.com