The Meaning of Success

The meaning of success.

success-meaning-3

 

What a loaded sentence. Everyone has their own definition of success. I was posed with this question recently at a toastmaster’s meeting. How I responded was interesting because, I responded in a linear manner. Meaning a talked about achieving or accomplishing a goal and assessing in my mind the accumulation of goals and money. That’s where my mind went first. Interesting, considering success for me, since my college years was simple: being in a loving committed marriage, have a family and doing work that I love helping others and being creative. As I thought about that statement further, success for me is about following my heart.  Because, when I follow my heart, I have no idea what the outcome will be and therefore each time I follow my heart, I take a risk. And I have taken ALL kinds of risks. So often, we are our worst enemy, focusing on what we don’t have, haven’t done (‘right’), what we need to do differently or better until it all begins to sound like Blah Blah Blah. Can you relate?

I think back to the risks I’ve taken based on my Heart and I recall twice in my adult life, packing my car with just certain belongings such as photos, music, some books and clothes and traveling across country to a new state in which I had NO job lined up. What was I thinking?

Then I started to think about other times in my life where I followed my heart and realized that I am more of a risk-taker than I give myself credit for but I haven’t seen this aspect of myself because I’ve focused so much on the Fear I’ve felt.

I’ve taken a risk and changed careers, multiple times in my life; I’ve changed my life and began a business, which has been the scariest/hardest chapter in my life to date. I have traveled alone, I have moved across country – alone, I have made decisions that others would think and have thought, “what is she thinking ?” or “what the hell is she going to do next?” I’ve stepped outside of my comfortable box and taken more risks. I have to remember that, so that I don’t become paralyzed by the fear and the lies of Fear itself telling me something that isn’t true.  Risk takes courage.

I am a risk-taker. I follow my heart. I am courageous. My heart will take me to places, experiences and bring people into my life that I never imagined happening. That is Success – to me.

What is your definition of Success and has it changed over time?

Exercise:
Take a moment to acknowledge ways in which you’ve taken risks (stepped out of your comfort zone).

Change

time-for-change

Change.

Everyone wants change at some point in their life, but may not know how to go about it. Change can be exciting and scary, regardless if the change is facilitated by you or uncontrolled circumstances in your life such as losing your job, your partner wanting a divorce, or a newly diagnosed medical illness.

Change is a choice.

Change ushers in the new, but often we focus on what we’re losing or leaving behind. There’s excitement and grief related to change. There’s also fear. Fear of the unknown as change happens. ‘If I change (certain behaviors) what will happen to my relationships?’ ‘If I change my relationship, will I find another partner, will the relationship be better, different?’ ‘If I change my job/career will I be able to financially take care of myself and my family?’  These are all valid concerns and questions yet they are based on fear. The issue with basing our choices on fear is that fear can keep us in behaviors, relationships, jobs that no longer serve us. Fear can keep us complacent in being comfortable. Fear keeps your spirit trapped; fearful of moving forward or in a different direction.

I know this personally.

I love change. Well, let me rephrase that. I used to Love change, now I like it. Sometimes. When I can control it. I loved change when I was younger and often welcomed and facilitated change. Change of job, change of career, change of residence. If I felt like it was becoming old hat to me, I’d get these nagging thoughts and a gut feeling that it’s time for a change.  I was excited by the thought of exploring new towns, meeting new people, creating new friendships, being challenged at a different job, always learning and experiencing something new. With these changes, I’ve allowed myself to be guided solely by my heart, my intuition.

But, I confess, as I’ve become older, change has been much slower for me. I am more apt to rely on my practical left brain rather than my intuitive self. Because to be an adult is to be responsible – in every way. At least that was the belief. I also believed that to be a responsible adult meant that I had to live by the book, no ‘reckless’ behavior such as following my intuition. So I shut it down or didn’t listen. In doing so, I shut down my child like wonder and awe for the world that I’ve had throughout my life. I stopped exploring. And my spirit suffered. I physically suffered.

Instead of letting go and allowing myself to flow with the Universe, I have been holding on to  Control for the last year. Not Cool. I would go in spurts between letting go and flowing with Universe, then the fear would pop up and the control would rear its ugly head-again.  It has been a back and forth experience.  Two steps forward, one step back, with all the usual and imagined frustration in-between.  No one writes about the actual process of gut-wrenching change.  We usually hear about it as facts, “I lost everything, stayed with friends for a while, partner left me,’ etc.  We don’t always hear about the internal strife within, the confusion, indecision, fear or self-doubt probably because it doesn’t sound easy. And it’s not. We usually hear about the internal strife, when they’ve come out on the other side, on top of their mountain.

Well, that’s where I have been the last year.  Questioning if I was hearing my intuition clearly.  Wondering if I was on the ‘right’ path. Being confused, having self-doubt, stress and indecision.  Hence, the no writing.

 

Change is a choice.  And sometimes, the Universe chooses for you.

And I am listening.

 

What change are you wanting to make?  What choice are you willing to make?