Redefining Success (and how it makes your life better)

smiling woman with red wine on balcony fence

There’s a discontentment stirring and occurring amidst feelings of languishing, boredom, and overall frustration with the circumstances of the world as it stands right now. (Cut to everyone doom scrolling while simultaneously imagining they can be the next TikTok star)

It’s causing things like the very seriously-named “Great Resignation” where millions of Americans are leaving their jobs. Taking better gigs. Quitting for realsies.

It’s a sign of a desire for change. Spontaneity. People want to get to the remix already.

So many are hoping their new job will bring them: joy, happiness, or fulfillment.

And yet, all they’re doing is moving around their same brain. Their same mindset and dissatisfaction just has a new title at a new company. (FYI that “Director” level added to your signature doesn’t rewire your noggin to be happier)

This is why there’s going to be a lot of frustrated professionals very soon.

Because their idea of personal success is stale. Old. Musty.

They are switching jobs, careers, paths, etc. – sure – but with the same goal posts and desired outcomes in front of them. The perfect life. The career up-level. The nuclear family.

Which is why these life changes won’t meet their success expectations. They’ll continue to be discontent. Irritable. Bored. Unless their definition of success changes too.

REMIX YOUR DREAMS, NOT YOUR TITLE

Personal achievement is tricky. On one hand, it’s the marker of an independent woman. What she shows off at parties. And how she knows she’s “made it.” But on the other hand, that hand that’s likely got early onset carpal tunnel from years of late work nights on her laptop, most high-achieving women’s goals are actually a product of external influence.

Strip away the token quirky hobby or the “fun” fashion sense, and most of these women are actually just playing a part in someone else’s dream.

It’s the template you come back to on a bad day when you’re beating yourself up for doing something wrong or feeling down. The version of you that you’d be if you just “got serious” and “tried harder.” Yeesh. 

That’s rooted in so very much self hate. And self denial. 

You’re denying yourself what you really want. 

So often, women ask me how they find their “greater purpose” in life, and often the answer isn’t a two-step or four-step or even 17-step process. (shocking). It’s mysterious and unique to each person.

There’s so much to unpack, deprogram, and release…so you might as well “enjoy the journey” as they say…and start somewhere.

WHERE TO START

1. Don’t take it all so seriously 

I could tell tell you to play “like a kid again” but, truthfully, that’s really hard for people to access when they’ve been out of practice for so long. So start with just not taking success so seriously. Yes, I’m serious. Well, sort of. You know what I mean. 

Play is probably the biggest thing adults forget to do in a week. They “think” they’re playing when they are out drinking or numbing or wasting time. But play is so much more than that. It’s curiosity, it’s delight, it’s learning something new. If play feels far off, start with learning (that’ll kick start the over achievers reading this!). Learning opens your mind. Rules shut it.

2. Drop the should’s

Stop should-ing all over yourself (gross, but true), and drop what you think you’re supposed to be doing with your life. I always ask women, “is that actually something you like or are you just good at it?” Many people are following career paths or life roles that play to their skills not their strengths. You may be a whiz at Excel, but does it light you up? You may be good at teaching others, but does it drain you?

Seems like a simple question, but what do you *want*? What do you really, really want? Maybe being a project manager doesn’t add sparkles to your life. Maybe the world is missing your art in it. Maybe you actually are the next TikTok talent. Food for thought. Trade “should” for “want,” and see what comes up.

3. Release the limiting beliefs 

You will not become a lazy worthless sack of…potatoes…if you stopped trying to hate yourself forward. You will not turn into a totally different person if you don’t motivate yourself from a place of fear. That is a story you told to yourself at some point (as a student or young adult) to get through what felt stressful. And it’s not a cute story. It doesn’t serve who you are you now. 

What if everything that kept you “in line” your whole life isn’t helpful anymore? “Hard work pays off” or “Give 110%” …these phrases seem innocuous, but they may be limiting you now. Hard work at the wrong work isn’t going to pay off. Hard work may waste valuable years of your life. Giving 110% will fast track you to burnout. And does being the “hardest worker” help your life as much as it should? I’d guess the answer is no. 

Maybe joyful work pays off. Maybe balanced careers make better humans. And maybe the only person who deserves 110% from you is you.

START TODAY 

Take a beat. Take a break. From the “success story” you’ve been aiming for up until this point. Redefine what it actually could be. Start day dreaming again. 

Those people hastily switching jobs or making big life changes just for the thrill of it…it isn’t going to pay off for all of them.

And I’d argue they forgot to dream first. Start being open and honest with their desires. Follow what feels good. Dream wide. 

You’re allowed to be a little wilder. Go after what you want. (It’s not wrong). And release the way you think you’re supposed to act. 

And then, after all that, success is just relative.

Doesn’t that take some weight off? 

About the Author

Rose helps lifelong high achievers redefine personal success to create space in their lives for fun and fulfillment. Coach, empowerer, and sarcastic optimist.

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