Want to Find Success? First Find How You Define It

values and choices
Find success by looking inside.

It’s not unusual to want to find success. But what does that mean to you?

Have you paused and pondered what it will look like when you find success? You see, your definition of success has a profound effect on how you spend your time.

And yet, it’s easy to spend precious time pursuing what other people call success. But maybe it’s not how you define it. So this is important.

When you’re in sync with yourself and your values you spend your time on what matters most to you. And, most likely, you find success, too.

The following 3-part exercise helps you discover what success means for you. So, settle into a quiet place, find a pencil and paper, and open your heart.

1. What are you carrying?

This exercise helps you go back and capture your early messages about success. These are images and ideas that you carry with you unconsciously today.

First, 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.

Now, go back in time and think about what success looked like in your family or amongst your friends. Next, in each column, quickly list the first 5 things that come to mind. Let the old messages bubble up.

Whatever emerges, trust your intuition and write it down. Quite often the first things that pop up may seem puzzling. But breathe deeply and encourage yourself to move forward.

2. Now, look inside.

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. Pay attention to how you feel as you write.
  • Next, 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 and 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 each item on your list. It’s recognizing how you feel about them. Looking at this ranked-list helps you focus even more clearly on what success looks like for you.

3. Take your power and find success

Now you have in hand your old messages about success and the list that calls 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 have considered doing professionally. But you also carry an old message that 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.

Ready to get unstuck?

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

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

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 you work with it, its power is diminished.

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.

For more help…

When you think about success, do you feel unclear about what your priorities are? Well, a time tool that helps is my E-Guide titled “Why Can’t I Find My Direction?” 17 Journaling Prompts to Create Your Ideal Life. This E-Guide walks you through 17 journaling prompts aimed at helping you come to a deeper understanding of

  • Who you are,
  • What you value,
  • What makes you tick and
  • How you relate to your time choices.

Understanding any ONE of these things more fully is a great gift to give yourself. So I invite you to follow your heart as you clarify your priorities and find your direction with “Why Can’t I Find My Direction?” 17 Journaling Prompts to Create Your Ideal Life. Click the link below to discover more about what’s possible for you.


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