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The Meaning of Success

The meaning of success is different for all of us. For many people the success factors, they measure against, have something to do with the level of influence, affluence and lifestyle that you live. But is the the only way to define prosperity?

Some time ago I met a woman who by most people's standards is exceptionally successful. Regularly interviewed on national television and radio, fabulous husband, and two gorgeous children, she has the money and lifestyle that most people only dream of. Yet, spend a few hours in her presence and you get the sense that she feels like her life is a bust!

The problem is, she isn't living a life that she feels she owns. It is very clear that she has jumped through all the hoops, and collected all the trophies that would suggest she should be feeling happy, fulfilled and content with her life. Yet, it seems she is none of these. In fact her 'success' is missing something.

success and others expectations

Halfway through the conversation, it reminded me of another conversation, a month earlier with my daughter, Connor, who at the time was aged 12. It struck me, this person doesn't get the meaning of success as easily, or as profoundly, as my daughter.

Connor and I had been talking about life, and what it meant to be successful. She said "I think success is being the person you can be, and living your life the way you want to."

Connor, already, somehow, seems to understand that being popular, or doing what everyone else wants her to do, is not as important as living her values, setting her own goals and feeling content within herself. (For example, I want her to have dancing lessons - she's got a lot of natural talent - and I think lessons could develop it even more. But she resists saying, "I'm a free spirit and I want to create my own style")

At 12, she already gets that the meaning of success is enjoying a life that is her own ... following her own inner calling to what is her bliss ... not one dictated to her by me or anyone else. True success factors in my humble opinion!

Follow Your Bliss


Joseph Campbell

As I talked with this very impressive and influential woman in her 40's, it came to me that she just hasn't 'gotten it'. She is still working hard to be approved of, to be popular, to be the leader of the pack, to fit the mold. Even though she has the recognition and wealth that she probably always desired, in her own eyes she isn't succeeding. Her life is not fulfilled, because it isn't hers. She's the mouse on the wheel created by others.

Absolutely, the meaning of success can be fame, more money, bigger house, more toys etc. There's no question about it: these are the things that make for a great life, but they aren't the things that necessarily lead to fulfillment.

Success is not about being driven by peer pressure, to dress the right way, dance the right way, listen to the right music, live in the right neighborhood, have the right size house, drive the right car or have the right career.

Your halcyon days are when you live your own life, according to your values, doing things that are meaningful to you and bring you joy.

If you are feeling that living this way, may be out of your reach right now, you may find it useful to take the Job Career or Calling Quiz and follow that up by reading the article on whether you are in a Job, Career or Calling

Living with passion, following your heart, being loving, and loved, and making a difference, either big or small, to all who come into contact with you - these are the true meanings of success.

Ultimately, the meaning of success is contained within your heart. How are you feeling? If it's celebratory, engaged, uplifted, excited then you are living a successful life. If it is something less than that, it may be time to redefine who you are and how you are living.

Take the rocking chair test. When you are 100+ sitting in your rocking chair reviewing your life, how fulfilling has it been?

The path to success can be many and varied: building a business, being a leader, creating art, or music, being a politician, teacher, health practitioner, being a stay at home Mum or Dad.

Whatever you choose, make sure it is YOUR path and that you are - to quote a very wise 12 year old - "being the person you can be, and living your life the way you want to". The ultimate success factors to measure your life by!

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