If you are reading this article chances are that you are concerned about your future.
Your definition of success will go a long way in helping you reach success. Note we said, "your definition of success", not your parent's definition, or friend's, or boss', or spouse's, or anyone else' definition of success. Your personal definition is what's important.
Success is different for each person and may even change over time.
We think that creating your definition of success is like buying a pair of shoes. When you see a pair of shoes in a magazine or in the store window they look great. You think I would look fantastic wearing those shoes, but you really need to try them on to know for sure. When you do try them on, they might not fit right or they might not look as great as you thought they would. That's the way it is with defining your success. You need to try it on, walk around in it for a while to really know if it fits you.
Here's how we will start...
1. Make a list of words, maybe 5 or 10 words, that describe who you are right now. Are you a student, salesman, caring, focused, compassionate, eager, driven, relaxed, questioning, rich, struggling, etc. You pick the words that fit you.
2. What type of person do you want to be? Make a list of words that describe the person you aspire to be.
3. Describe your relationship with your family and friends by making another list of words.
4. How would you like these relationships to work? You know the drill, make a list.
5. Describe your work, school, or career.
6. How would you like your work, school, or career to be?
7. Describe the events, people, situations that bring you joy and have brought you the most joy in the past.
8. Who do you consider to be your role models? Who do you want to be like as a person, a family member, a friend, or in your career? Make a list of 3 or 4 people who exemplify some of the characteristics of who you want to be. (You can go to wikipedia and read about each of these people.)
If you have answered the questions above you could be getting some ideas about what success might look like for you. Print the list of questions with your answers and post them somewhere you will see them every day, perhaps on a mirror or your PC or car dashboard. Just review the questions above once a day for 3 weeks, jot down any new answers that occur to you and notice how your answers change over time. This will give you a gut feeling about which ones feel really solid and which are still tentative.
Now you should be ready to refine your answers above into a list of words that describe your success. Pick the words that best describe the person you want to become and the things you want to accomplish. Pick some role models. Don't worry about doing this perfectly because this list will change.
On your list write a date about 3 months from now. You are now going to live your life using this list as your definition of success and see how it feels. You are going to live your life as if you were trying to become the person you describe. You are going to think, "How would my role models handle this situation?" You are going to "try on" your definition of success to see if it fits.
After 3 months you will realize that some of the words are not working for you. They might not be your real vision for yourself. They might actually be someone else's vision for you. Edit your list, by removing the words that no longer fit and add some new words and role models. Re-try the new list for another 3 months. You can do this trial and error process as many times as you need to because you are not in a hurry, but you will take as long as you need to get a definition of success that fits you.
After doing this several times you will see some words that always remain on the list and, in fact, you may have added words that amplify these words. These are your definition of success. Use these words as your guiding stars to help you find your direction through life.
You might be done now, except for one thing. Your definition of success may change over time. The definition that fits you at 16 probably won't fit at 25 or 35. If you use your definition of success for several years, you may start to feel uncomfortable with some of the words. At that point you will know you need to start the process over again and look for a different style that fits you better.
Good luck and happy shoe shopping.
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