Sunday, October 2, 2016
What's YOUR Definition of Success?
Hello! I'm so glad you are here!
I've spent over 25-year reading hundreds of books by personal development leaders and authors. Some of them want you to think positive thoughts and visualize yourself on your private jet or accepting the biggest award in your industry. Others want you to carve out the perfect diet or exercise routine so you can attain chiseled perfection. And some want you to dream BIG. Bigger than you ever have!
But here's the question--What do you want?
This is the question I ended up asking myself.
My goals were less extreme than the authors whose books I was reading, so could I get anything out of them? As a matter of fact those authors who bragged of doing millions in sales with companies they built from nothing had quite a bit to teach me. That's because the rules for a successful life are pretty much the same regardless of what the goals are. And as I read and studied what the most successful people in the world do, I discovered much of it was the same. There are patterns to success.
Years ago I began implementing these ideas and practices into my life to bring about the changes I wanted. Now, maybe your goals and the changes you are looking for are big, like going back to school or starting your own business. But it could also be that your vision of the life you want to create seems small.
If it's your vision of a great life, there's nothing small about it.
It's okay to have no desire to run a marathon or climb Everest. Just do a serious no-nonsense gut check with yourself to make sure that your lack of desire isn't fear. Not doing something because you are afraid is likely to cause you to have regrets later. But just plain ole not caring about it is just fine!
Great, now how are we going to figure out our personal definition of success?
By imagining that your life is over and you are lying in a hospital bed with just hours to live. As you think back over your life, what are you sorry that you didn't do?
Take some time and actually visualize this moment. Whatever brings about the most intense feelings of your having missed something important is an area you should investigate. Notice I didn't ask about what you regretted doing. That's because people generally suffer the most grief over the things they didn't do.
Here are the top 5 universal regrets of the dying:
1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself and not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish I had let myself be happier.
Look at how many of those are not what our culture holds up as a successful life. Apparently just like we overestimate how happy money will make us, we aren't all that great at knowing what things will actually contribute to our having lived a happy and fulfilled life.
Let's begin by defining part of our successful life as not having these regrets at the end of it. Now, what would you add? Get out a piece of paper and write down a few things that would make you smile at the end of life.
Here's my list:
Spending lots of time enjoying nature, gardening, and time with my animals.
A happy family life and having great relationships with my adult children.
Creating and writing
Being an encouragement to others
Living with integrity.
Traveling and having adventures.
Did you notice that all the things on the first list you could do regardless of physical or financial limitations? On my list, with the exception of travel, every single thing has to do with the kind of person I'm striving to be. They don't have anything to do with what I can afford. They have to do with what kind of actions am I taking in my everyday life. They have to do with how I spend my time.
Read back over your own list and keep it in mind as we move forward. We are on our way to a life well-lived.