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Success or failure… You Decide

Trick or Treat! Are you enjoying some pumpkin spice something, Dear Reader? I know this month isn’t quite what 2019’s October was, but some things aren’t affected by the current state of things. Pumpkins still grow, the leaves always turn, and we still have our hopes and dreams for the future (at least I sure hope you do!)

Many times people come to see me when they’re seeking a change in career or feeling stuck in reaching a goal. They are, in essence, looking for the keys to success. I recently started coaching with a new client who works in sales and has risen to the top of his field. He is a nationally recognized member of his company’s sales team and makes an excellent salary. He’s also restless and dreams of doing something different. Although he has reached the pinnacle of success in one way, he feels flat broke in others. This client shared his desire to become his own boss and work in a capacity where he is helping others. He shared that his most treasured time was when he worked directly with staff to help them meet their own goals. 

When we discussed his current situation, he brought up his family, who he cherishes dearly, and referred to the fact that his wife was with him when he was “at the bottom” and that he “didn’t want to let her down” by walking away from the security and abundance of his current job. I posed the question to him that perhaps his wife would be more let down if he was to stay in a job that wasn’t right for him and leave his dreams on the shelf. He hadn’t considered this: that success may look different from what he has thought up until now, and he might need to shift his thoughts toward what success looks like for him rather than what is defined by society. 

Success is actually a strange concept when you think about it. Sure, we all want to have a life that we’re proud of and feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment, but that doesn’t always equate to what our world labels as a success. 

What might your definition of success be, Dear Reader? 

Mine is a feeling of being of service, having time to do things I love, making real connections with people, and creating things. None of those things have to do with fame, fortune, or my bank account. It took me a while to realize that I was the type of person who valued experiences over things, but my whole life changed when I did. And…I can honestly say to you today that I feel like a raging success because I live by my own values, which feel better to me than driving a sports car or house in the Hamptons.

Here are three tips to help guide you to your own definition of success (and if you already know, they can also be a great reminder to live by your values!)

1. Values List: Write a list of things that matter to you. Really take some time to consider and even use that mindful mindset that I’m always prattling on about. Breathe and relax and see what appears on the page. You might be surprised by some of your answers. 

2. Remember when you felt like a winner: Think of some times in your life when you felt like a success. What was going on? Had you accomplished something significant to you? Did you get the girl? See if you can dissect those times and find what it was that you FELT and WHY. Sometimes we mistake the thing for the feeling. Sometimes the feeling comes, and the thing looks like “no big deal”. What matters is what YOU felt. That’s your key to what matters most. 

3. Write your own Eulogy: I know, I know, that’s really spooky to do right now as we’re coming up on Halloween. Well, Dear Reader, there’s no better way to get down to the nitty-gritty of what matters than considering what you would like to be remembered for. This exercise is potent and can be a little bit uncomfortable, but if you take the time to do it, you will have some insights into your core values, and that’s priceless. 

Laura Klain is a Certified Life Coach and has helped people build better relationships, change careers, increase creativity, and successfully navigate life’s curveballs for the last eight years. You can learn more about her at www.budtoblossom.net.

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