I know for myself, that I have often based the idea of my success on what I have achieved in my career. That has been the number one cause of anxiety, stress, and honestly, just not feeling “good enough” at certain points in my life. We are raised in a society where one of the first things somebody asks us is, “What do you do for a living?” as if that somehow defines who we are. That question absolutely drives me batty! So much so, that I used to freeze up and try to come up with something beyond just, “I’m a waitress.” I would first start spouting off a list of all the things that I was pursuing and really doing and then finally get around to the fact that I make my money waiting tables. What a crappy way to live. What a crappy way to have to think that somehow I wasn’t going to be seen as good enough because of what I ‘do’. Thankfully, what I’ve since come to learn and believe for myself and for all of us is, true success is how you have added value to the lives of others and this planet. True success, in my opinion, is being able to answer ‘yes’ to the following questions.
1. Do you try to make someone’s life a little bit better and happier?
2. Do you love as much as you can?
3. Do you share without expecting anything in return?
4. Are you kind?
5. Have you encouraged, supported, and been there for someone?
Those are the true determining factors of having lived a successful life. No career or profession is going to give you the daily satisfaction of being at peace, if within that profession, you aren’t adding goodness to someones life. If you do something each day that you love and you are serving the world in some way, I believe then you are successful! Not because a degree or a specific job says so, but rather, because you simply are. If you leave the world better than you found it, there isn’t any job title that will surpass that success.
So where in your life have you been successful? Are there areas that you can give a bit more? Perhaps changing up the frame in which you picture what success really looks like will leave you more fulfilled at the end of the day. To be quite honest, not only will answering ‘yes’ to those questions determine the level of success I believe you’ve achieved, but I also think it directly relates to the level of joy you feel in your life.