Success Exercise: Making Your Success Truly Yours

choices and values
What do YOU value?

In a previous post, we looked at the definition of success and the profound effect it has on how you use your time.

Today I’m going to be digging deeper with a success exercise to help you uncover how you define success.

Why is this important?

It’s all-too-easy to spend precious years of your life working off of what other people call success, only to discover later that this wasn’t what you wanted at all.

When you know how you view success you are in sync with yourself and your values. Your time is spent on what matters most to you!

So this set of success exercises will help you discover what success means for you. Remember, the more fully you engage in the exercises the better. So, find a quiet place, grab a piece of paper and a pencil, open your heart, and let’s get started.

Success Exercise #1

Check Your Baggage.

In this first step, I invite you to go back and capture your early messages about success. It’s especially helpful to uncover the ones that you lug around unconsciously today.

So, create two columns by drawing a line down the center of your paper. Label the column on the left side Successful and the column on the right side Unsuccessful.

In each column quickly list the first 5 things that come to mind based on messages you received in your past.

Whatever emerges, trust your intuition and write it down. It’s not unusual for the first things that pop up to seem puzzling. But breathe deeply and encourage yourself to move forward.

Success Exercise #2

What is Success for YOU?

Now that you’ve taken a look at the baggage you carry, it’s time to open to what’s in your heart. So, take a fresh piece of paper and write, “I feel successful when …” across the top.

Brainstorm from 5 to 10 endings to that sentence. Whatever comes to mind is fine. Again, don’t censor yourself. Be aware of how you feel as you write.

Next, I’d like you to prioritize each new sentence you’ve created based on how powerfully you connect with it, with 3 being most strong and 1 being least strong.

Do this quickly, too. Then place the items into one of three columns headed 1-Strong Connection, 2-Stronger Connection, and 3-Strongest Connection.

Remember, this isn’t about the external importance or value of the items on your list but how you feel about them. Looking at this ranked-list helps you focus even more clearly on what success looks like for you.

Success Exercise #3

Let Go, Empower Yourself, and Make it Real.

Now you have in hand your old messages about success and the list that speaks to your heart. Look at both lists and highlight the elements that are in conflict.

What jumps out at you?

Maybe preparing a meal to share with family or friends is something that makes you sing inside. Maybe it’s even something you’ve considered doing professionally. But you also carry an old message that says you should pursue a career in academia.

These are the kinds of conflicts that keep you paralyzed or send you down frustrating and unfulfilling paths.

Choose the area of conflict that holds the most energy for you.

Focus on the piece of baggage that is creating this conflict. (For example in our exercise above, the excess baggage is your childhood message that you should have a career in academia.)

Now visualize yourself letting it go and be aware of how you feel. List the gains and losses that come immediately to mind.

It’s important to know that letting go isn’t magic. You’ll bump into that old message again and again. The stronger its hold on you, the more you’ll encounter it. But each time, the message is a little bit fainter. It may never totally disappear, but it will offer less and less of an impediment.

And as you loosen your grip on this belief from your past, you take an important step toward defining success for yourself and moving forward with purpose and clarity.

Here’s to living out of your new understanding of success.

What about retirement and success?

Retirement marks a profound shift in how you spend your time. It’s a time when you may be reflecting on your work life as well as looking ahead to the future.

How do you feel about your career? What does the future hold?

It can be a very unsettling time. And it also offers rich opportunities.

Grounded in your own truth, you’ll make more satisfying plans and choices as you move into this transition because they’ll be congruent with your values. 

Ready to start planning? Click HERE to sign up for your complimentary Heart-Based Retirement Planner today


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