Monday, February 8, 2010

What Does Success Look Like?

Well, actually, the entire question in that title should really read, "What Does Success Look Like ... to YOU?" Right? Because, chances are that your definition of success and mine differ ... maybe significantly. And, your definition of success and your brother's probably does, too. And, your brother's definition of success is likely different from his dentist's, and so on ... you get the picture. If we don't add on that "to YOU," we're just living in "comparison mode." Follow me? Good.
So, let's talk about this idea of "success" - and, more importantly, how do we measure it?
Frequently, we'll get clients who come to us saying, for example, "I have been in the banking industry for seven years, and I really hate my job - don't think I can take another seven years of this." What a terrible, trapped feeling - a personal prison. Here's this person, we'll call him "Phil," who has to make a living to support himself and/or his family, and each day he has to drag himself out of bed to go to work and earn a paycheck. He hates Sunday night because he knows Monday morning is coming, and that means another entire work week. He goes through the motions at his job, and then goes home at night only to go to sleep, get up and start the cycle all over again. But, that's not living, that's existing ... and Phil deserves much more than that. We all do, right? I'll answer that for you - YES! Of COURSE, we do! You do, I do, Phil does!
It's not uncommon for many of us to grow up with a pre-conceived notion of what success is. Some of us are even flat-out told what success looks like, "You'll have a stable financial portfolio ...", "You'll marry a doctor and raise three kids ...", "You'll be CEO of a company by the time you're 28 ..." You can't believe how many "definitions of success" that we've heard! But, be careful not to confuse "success" with "achievement" - two similar, but entirely different, concepts - and, beware of other people's declarations of what your success is. Nobody can define for you what will make you feel complete, whole, fulfilled, satisfied or happy, just like you cannot define that for anyone else - and, why would you want to?
What Phil needs to do is work with his coach on digging in to find what his internal descriptors are for success. This is where a career "coach" and a career "consultant" differ. The consultant might tell Phil the steps he needs to take to transfer to a different bank, or what skill sets he should work on to get out of, say, "mortgage lending" and into "personal banking." His coach, on the other hand, will help him to assess whether or not this is even the correct industry for him. What are his values? What does he want out of a job, other than a steady paycheck? What would make him look forward to going to work on Monday?
In Phil's case, many people in his family went into banking, and he went down their path, and on their journey, only to discover ... wow, wrong turn. But, fortunately for Phil, it's never too late to change course. Never too late - got that?
Are you experiencing this, or something similar, in your life? If so, here are some steps you can take to help change your circumstances:
  • First off, give yourself credit for trying to figure out an answer to this puzzle. It's courageous to embrace change rather than continue wallowing about in the status quo.
  • Next, find a quiet place to think, and consider the following: with money as no object, what occupation would you choose for yourself? For example, one client of mine, the president and CEO of an auto dealership, said that he would like to be a chef. Quite a change! How about you ... what would you choose?
  • Now, what does being in that dream-role look like? Are you in an office? On a beach? On t.v.?
  • What would be your first step in pursuing your dream-role? Would you pick up the phone and call a company who does what you would love to do? Do you know someone already doing this? Would you write a letter? What would you say in the letter or on the phone about your dream-role?
  • And, here's the big question - what's stopping you?
Look, I'm not unrealistic ... I understand that there are bills that need to be paid, and oftentimes having a job that isn't our ideal affords us the ability to pay those bills. But, ask yourself this - at what cost? As you've seen on our site,, I've included one of my all-time favorite quotes: "Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will succeed." (Albert Schweitzer.) Another favorite, but not included on our website is, "If you love what you're doing, you're never truly working." I am fortunate in that I stepped off of the merry-go-round and redefined success for myself, and I am doing what I truly love ... and, I've never been more happy or successful. You can be, too! Start with those questions outlined above, and if you have any questions email me at - I'm happy to answer any questions on what you can do to work on discovering what will propel you toward your own personal success.
Your success is your success. Nobody else's. Own it. Learn it, live it, love it.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post. You should take part in a contest for one of the best blogs on the web. I will recommend this site!

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