Why is it that when we look for measures of success in someone, we are conditioned to see no more than external things we have learned to view as success?
How much money they’re making, the car they drive, or the size of their house.
While researching for this article, I’ve come across a tonne of articles about measures of success. And most of them include the same things like, how much money you’re taking in, how many customers you have, your net worth, and how highly people speak of you.
Success doesn’t mean any more than this to a lot of us. And I used to share those beliefs.
I used to believe that climbing the career ladder, earning more money, upgrading to a designer wardrobe, and having people tell me I was successful would make me feel like a success.
Until I realised that a job promotion and a fancier title wasn’t what I wanted at all.
What I really wanted was the freedom to design my own schedule, be in control of my own destiny, and make as much money as I wanted.
What I wanted was to spend my time doing work in the world that filled me up, and brought me joy.
I wanted to travel the world, and write a book; have more time for great adventures, and to work for the universe.
If I could wake up each day and do all of those things, and be financially supported for it along the way, then I would be happy. No, I’d be thrilled.
Success is what we’re all searching and striving for, on some level.
We want to feel like we’ve “made it”. And we desperately want other people to know that we’ve made it, too.
Even when we do achieve that level of external success, there’s always someone who is more “successful”. Someone with more money in the bank, more friends, and a more toned figure.
And often, that leaves us feeling inferior or inadequate, and taints the success we thought we had achieved.
The reality is, there will always be someone who has more than you. More money, more stuff, more accomplishments. So basing your success – and your worth – on how much you have, will always leave you feeling hollow.
Especially if those external measures of success don’t align with your own internal desires. Your soul desires.
That’s why I believe it’s important to create your own measures of success. Because we’re all different. There is no one map that fits all.
We all have contrasting desires and needs and dreams. What looks and feels like success for me and you, will probably be quite different. And that’s okay. It’s more than okay – it’s great.
Because that’s what makes our world so colourful and lively.
Here are 5 steps to create your own meaningful measures of success
1. Forget everything you’ve ever learned about success
At this point, you’ve probably received thousands of messages about what it means to be successful. From your parents, your friends, your teachers, your co-workers, and your idols.
And I want you to forget all of it.
Because those are not necessarily your beliefs. They might be, but they also might not be.
And you are old enough and wise enough to create your own beliefs – about everything.
2. Remember, what other people think is irrelevant
It doesn’t matter what anybody in the world thinks about you. Whether they think you’re successful, or not.
All that matters is what you think about you.
What I’m trying to say is, just make yourself proud.
Do what you want to do with your life. Because when you reach the end of it, I promise you that will be all that matters.
3. Decide how you want to feel
Danielle LaPorte has a beautiful approach to goal setting, which she calls desire mapping.
The idea is that you forget about what you want to achieve, and first think about how you want to feel every day.
So, how do you want to feel?
Do you want to feel happy, joyous, passionate, excited, free, sexy, alive?
Have you ever asked yourself that? Have you ever given your feelings any thought?
Because the secret to creating the life we desire out there, is to first create those feelings on the inside. In our hearts.
4. Define what success means to you
Before I got clear on defining what success looked and felt like to me, I wasn’t able to create a life that I loved waking up to each morning.
So think about what success means to you.
Does it mean being financially free, living in a spacious house, having a healthier balance between work and play, getting to travel more, being able to spend more time with your kids, running your own profitable business, having enough to treat yourself to regular massages or fancy meals out, or having fun every day.
You might not be able to define what success means to you until you try some new things out, and see what feels most expansive and joyous to you.
So I invite you to start exploring what success means to you today.
5. Follow your soul
The truth is, your only duty in this life is to walk the path that your soul came here to journey on. And that is unique for all of us.
In a spiritual sense, we are all one, but here on earth in the physical realm, we are all meant to be going on a unique journey.
It’s easy for me to tell you to follow your soul, but how do you actually do that?
You start listening to and trusting your intuition. You know, that voice that whispers to you, or shows you signs that you ignore or pretend aren’t there.
And you start following what lights you up. What makes you happy and fulfilled, and brings meaning to your life.
You pave your own way, instead of following the road that people tell you to venture down. Knowing that your soul will never mislead, or misguide you.
This is how you create your own meaningful measures of success, and design a life you love, and are proud of.