Definition of success:
Merriam Webster defines success as :
A favorable or desired outcome
Attainment of wealth, favor or eminence (rank, reputation)
The one who succeeds
How about looking at success in your personal experience? Let's take a dual view on success.
This is literally the intellectual building blocks for success in our wise human brain. This encases all the things that we have or all the things we want to have in order to be successful. This may be a certain level of income, it may be title, it may relate to ownership of something like a helicopter or a private jet. It can also be physical like running a marathon or something intangible like getting married. It can be small things, but most of the time it is big things. Big goals.
There is an important dimension to this. If we leave success factors on autopilot and take them as given, it may very well be that we have someone else’s success factor leading our path. We are easily influenced by the society and community surrounding us. I will give you an caricature example: We have to guys working in finance sector: Person number 1 works for an international investment bank that handles big deals. #1's boss drives a fancy car and the bosses boss uses the company jet. That is what this person sees as success. When I have those things I will be successful.
The person number 2 works for women’s bank. #2 finds deals for women to start their own small business. #2's boss praises these women for their courage to become entrepreneurs. This person sees becoming his own boss as a success. The point being that our environment, family and peers have a lot to say in what we consider as success.
More and more people give value based success measurements when asked. Like: doing work that I actually like or having time with my family.
Let’s now jump into what your picture of success looks like. it's really important that you try to sniff out your real measures of success rather than settle on how you would like to measure success.
This image we can also access when we think about people who we believe to be successful. People we admire and who have achieved something we want.
Please answer these questions:
Who do you think are successful? Two persons.
Why? What do these people have? What qualities, achievements, concrete belongings they have?
Now, what are your personal measures for success? What do you need to be able to say ”I am successful.” If you have this already, what have been the ”goals”? And who has to think and see your success?
This is how we arrive to your intellectual measurement of success. Hold on to this! We are going to need it later.
These concrete measurements of success are good and they are bad. They are the goals that drives us to push harder and achieve things. BUT These concrete measurements, many times without us even realizing it, leave us feeling inadequate, stressed and simply feeling that we are not enough. Especially when left on an autopilot.
2. Feeling successful
And well this is a whole other thing. Mainly because many of us are greedy. And ambitious, and in a hurry to have more. Have you ever had that moment where you had set that goal, worked your ass off to reach it and then once you had it, you just moved on to the next project? You barely even realized that you had reached something worthwhile.
And that is because you did not stop to acknowledge that, you did not celebrate your achievement, and you did not do it because you didn’t feel like it. You did not let yourself feel successful. Of course we do have those instant glory moments, lets take playing soccer and scoring a goal, whoaaaa! Instant reward and rush of pleasure! Thats probably why we enjoy games so much. But that is something we need in order to feel successful in other areas of our lives too.
This is how we arrive to the Keys to feeling successful. I am talking about 2 things here.
Predefining success and Rewarding
Predefining when you get a reward, creating a routine for success. Stopping there and asking yourself who I get to be now that I am here.
Being enough. Beliefs.
It's about you feeling that you are worthy and you are valuable. Its you realizing and feeling your value. It's you concretely showing yourself that you are enough and valuable. It's about you knowing what is enough and feeling satisfied about that.
This is something I realized not very many years ago as a limitation on me feeling successful. I had just just started my own company, which was a long term dream come true, and I realized that I still didn’t feel successful. I felt insecure, I envyed ither people's success. I started to look back in my life. I looked at the time of becoming a mom, a time of finding myself, the time in business world leading people, time studying to get ready, time of growing up and playing soccer.
I realized two things: First, that I was simply brilliant and would continue to be in the future. Second, for crying out loud I had not let myself feel successful, I had always felt that I am not good enough. All through my life. And that is wrong. I had robbed myself of feeling complete and enough, and that is just horrible.
Psychology of success: Mindset
Now that we have defined success. Let's look at a view that has been extensively researched by Carol S. Dweck, the psychology of success. She has found that mindset has a huge role to play in this success game. Our mindset will give a more accurate prediction about our future accomplishments than our IQ! With the right mindset and attitude you are able to take down self inflicted barriers and manage the potential that lives in you. Now you get to understand features about yourselves, take a look at your patterns and hopefully challenge yourself to a new area in your life!
Her findings were surprisingly simple! We carry two kind of attitudes: Others view their competences and personal traits as fixed and the others favor growth as their common thread.
"What if challenges, critique and failure would NOT mean that you have done something wrong and discourage you, but you could view them as opportunities to grow and learn? This is what the growth mindset is all about."
"When I've been learning the growth mindset, I have been able to let go of unnecessary baggage and freed myself to think that I'm able to grow always!"
Person with growth mindset believes that qualities they possess can be further developed. ”Natural talent” does not exclude the possibility of huge improvement! Growth attitude also acts as acceleration for inspiration to learn and encourages us to be persistent. A quality that is much needed in success.
This builds up a good base for great achievements in all areas of life. Be it love life, business, or management. Growth mindset will make us work more and deal better with failures. Failures do not get to define us as a person anymore.
By taking in this new attitude we open up to our limitless potential and regain faith in our abilities!
One of the best news I want to leave you with is that despite the mindset you are working from today it can be changed
Changing your way of thinking toward a more positive direction may feel hard or pretentious, but gradually you can start to take in failures as new possibilities. Here are three questions that can help you at the moment of failure:
1. What did I learn from this situation?
2. How did I grow from this? Who am I now?
3. What positive outcomes did this failure have, name a couple?
Renja is a love and transformation coach who inspires women to live ridiculously satisfying lives. She is the founder of Ahaa Helsinki, that aims to save the world by bringing down to earth coaching available for everyone. She believes in the power of the individual decision, creating vision and taking action. She absolutely loves what she does, and she is always open for women who are willing and committed to create better lives for themselves.
Renja has a master's degree in Economics and is a proud alumni of Mentor Masterclass life coach training program. Renja writes two blogs: one in english here. And one in Finnish here.