21 Ways to Define Success – Measuring Success Part 1

I’ve been through a brutal year. That’s the honest truth of it.

A year that’s required me to look at everything I think I know and ask hard questions.

During this year I’ve thought a lot about success and failure – what those terms mean and how I define them. I share my thoughts on success and failure with the intention of inspiring you to expand your definition of success, rather than measure yourself by someone else’s narrow and limited definition.

My Definition of Success: Learning something important about…

  1. What I’ll fight for.
  2. How hard I’ll fight.
  3. Becoming the person that can achieve the dream.
  4. Savoring the richness of the journey.
  5. Being willing to pause and rest, as well as work and persevere.
  6. Embracing life’s challenges with a strong and open heart.
  7. Leveraging my strengths and gifts.
  8. Authenticity – being who I am and not trying to be what I’m not.
  9. Letting go of control and perfectionism; letting life be messy, complex, unpredictable, scary and exciting.
  10. My freedom to make different choices than I have in the past.
  11. Nourishing my spirit and realizing I don’t have to earn the right to do something good for myself.
  12. Looking for the unexpected gift, the silver lining, the brilliant insight that puts Light on everything I’ve been through.
  13. Creating an uplifting and supportive environment (both inner and outer) that’s a sanctuary of peace and calm in trying times.
  14. Finding balance and not working in a way that ruins my health and body.
  15. Getting inspired and creative when obstacles appear, rather than giving up.
  16. Not taking myself too seriously – or even taking my dream of changing the world too seriously – bringing play and joy into the process.
  17. Giving myself permission to acknowledge and celebrate the small, incremental wins (rather than waiting for some far-distant definition of ultimate success before I enjoy and celebrate life).
  18. Gaining insight regarding when to stick with a goal and when it is time to let go, reinvent, & reimagine a new goal.
  19. Becoming aware of the clues that inform my next step.
  20. Making a soul connection with those I’m traveling with on my journey.
  21. Accessing intuition, inspiration, and clarity around my next step.

In the final analysis I ask myself, did what I went through…

Teach me

Change me

Inspire me

Challenge me

Wake me up – bring forward something I haven’t been conscious of

Open my heart

Open the door to a new path, new choices and opportunities

Give me clarity on what I do and don’t want in life

Connect me with someone wonderful

Help me ask a better question, one that reveals a new perspective

Push me to grow and evolve

My Definition of Failure: Learning nothing, changing nothing, on the inner or outer level.

In life there are many paths, many doors to go through. If one doesn’t work, that informs my next choice, and has given me important information I can use to move forward.

Sometimes we do cross a definitive finish line – we accomplish the degree, promotion, number on the paycheck, we publish the book, reach the business goal, run the marathon, marry our life partner, become a parent, we achieve the award and have our accomplishment recognized by others. Other steps forward are subtle, and in the moment may feel like a misstep, a waste of time, even an epic fail.

In those times, an accurate assessment of where we’ve been can restore hope and trust in ourselves and in our future. A new perspective on success can give us faith we’re following the guidance of our heart, and progressing in the perfect way to ultimately fulfill our life mission(s). An awareness of the inner shifts that have happened can give the confidence to take outer action. Gratitude and appreciation for every step, no matter how challenging, allows us to feel joy and delight in the journey we’re creating.

Hope for the future, curiosity to try a new approach, and willingness to keep learning and moving forward – that’s my true measure of success.


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