The one thing that most people have in common is that deep-seated desire for a better, more exciting future than our current circumstances.
We all want to be happy and successful, to lead a meaningful life, and to find fulfillment in our day to day existence.
This is what keeps us hopeful and optimistic — the need to succeed and to thrive. To rise above what we were born into. To live our dreams.
The problem is that most of us don’t actually have a clear picture of what those dreams would look like in real life.
We want to earn more, but we don’t have a specific number in mind.
We want to be happy, but we don’t even know what makes us happy.
We want a healthy relationship, but have no idea what that entails beyond the happy endings we’ve come to expect from the movies.
The first step to achieving true success is defining it for yourself.
Not what society tells you, not what your parents want for you, and not even what your partner or children expect from you.
The only way to be a good wife, parent or child is by being a good person to begin with, and to feel fulfilled as an individual so that you can have the best of yourself to give to the people that mean the most to you.
Before you set any goals or get started on a new venture, ask yourself these three questions:
- What will success look like for me?
- Why is this important to me?
- Who do I need to become to attain that goal?
Make your vision crystal clear, down to what you will do on a daily basis as you live the life of your dreams.
This may sound unnecessary and excessive, but doing it will empower you to create a concrete plan with actionable steps that you can undertake to bridge the gap between where you are right now and where you need to be.
Most importantly, you will be able to recognize success when you achieve it, as opposed to flailing around from one goal to the next, unable to find fulfillment simply because you don’t have it clearly defined.
To help put things in perspective, here are a few quotes from some conventionally successful people whose definition of success surprisingly isn’t hinged on the big three — money, power or fame.
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group:
“Too many people measure how successful they are by how much money they make or the people that they associate with. In my opinion, true success should be measured by how happy you are.”
Arianna Huffington, Founder of the Huffington Post:
“To live the lives we truly want and deserve, and not just the lives we settle for, we need a Third Metric, a third measure of success that goes beyond the two metrics of money and power, and consists of four pillars: well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving.”
Mark Cuban, Businessman and Investor:
“To me, the definition of success is waking up in the morning with a smile on your face, knowing it’s going to be a great day. I mean, I was happy and felt like I was successful when I was poor, living with six guys in a three-bedroom apartment and sleeping on the floor. I was going to work hard to get somewhere, but I was having fun.”
Coach John Wooden, Legendary UCLA Basketball Coach:
“Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
Remember, you can’t change your life unless you know exactly what that change will look like, and only you can decide what that means for you and your unique set of needs, goals and circumstances.