Last week I was flying to Brisbane to run a workshop with an up and coming HR Consultancy. To kick start the first session I opened with the topic of success and what it means to their business and the individuals within it. Before getting into the nitty gritty of achieving top performance and putting action steps in place, I felt it was a pre-requisite to know what success means to those making the contribution.
I find through my coaching that success ultimately is very different for everyone and it can be quite a personal definition. Mainstream success usually equates to financial wealth, asset generation, career climbing and social status. But is that your definition? I like Christopher Morley’s “there is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way”. That is, what you want it to be and what you’re striving for.
It has propelled me to reflect on my own journey as it has been 8 months since I decided to leave my executive role to start my own business (Quit while your ahead….10 tips for going out on top). I know from the outside, it appeared like I had ‘everything’, but on the inside I wanted to contribute more in my own way and create something unique, that not only I could call my own, but live and breathe my offering that genuinely makes a difference to others.
Chris Savage’s blog post got me thinking last week (you can read it here) about success and living life authentically with no regrets. He talks about ‘people on their deathbed living with no regrets’. I can honestly say I haven’t been that in touch my ‘spiritual’ side – always choosing to invest in my health, family, career and personal development as a priority. However, I have to admit that a month before I actually made the decision to go it alone, I was at a corporate function – a fundraiser for the Julian Burton Burns Trust when I experienced something quite unusual. There was a tarot card reader there and my team thought it would be fun to have our ‘futures told’. I didn’t think twice – a bit of fun!
My cards read that I had an amazing opportunity, something that I had wanted to try for some time and that I should trust it. This spinning wheel of opportunity was going to affect other areas of my life (family, finances etc) initially, but it would ultimately be successful. Now, for you skeptics, yes this could have been referring to anything and been a “generic” reading, but does it matter? Sometimes we need a push and even if it comes from an unusual source, perhaps we should be more in tune with the messages the universe sends us! Of course I didn’t make my decision based on a fortuneteller, but it certainly gave me some added inspiration to propel me into action.
I realised I was in my comfort zone and it was a nice place to be (Are you green and growing or ripe and rotten?) but someone once said to me “sometimes being safe just means we live in the shadows of how great we can actually be”. That being said, success to me means driving forward for my own purpose, living authentically with the intention of positively contributing to others.
It took some time, but I feel immense satisfaction that I took the plunge and like Chris Savage says, I have no regrets! Sometimes we spend so much time focused on building the success of what others want or the image of what others think success is, that we forget about actually doing and achieving those the things that are important to us and actually make us happy.
Set your own agenda, define your own success and then enjoy the journey of making it happen!