I am always fascinated by lists such as “The Most Powerful People In The World”, or “30 under 30” and especially by how they are compiled and then be viewed. Read on for my definition of success.
How success is seen
First of all, look for example at how someone ends up in such a list. External things such as fame, status and wealth are always used to define and rank success.
Rarely is success explained as something related to trust, perseverance, one’s self-knowledge, or how someone promotes ethical behavior among his or her employees. How powerful a person is, is also determined by such things.
It strikes me that people primarily look at success in that first way and thereon base their ideas. Using external factors to define success is striking to me, but concerns me a little bit too. It makes me wonder how healthy that is.
Moreover, there is also another way in which success is seen that strikes me. Namely, people often talk about success as if it is “suddenly” coming to you. That it happens in an instant. You snap your fingers and there it is: a listing in the Quote-500 or those 2 million followers on Instagram. Today you are the greatly promise of Forbes, but yesterday you were not and would you be tomorrow?
What does having power in these situations actually mean?
How I see it
Success is a long process
For me, success is all about learning and making mistakes. Some things don’t just happen and most of the time you need to learn en practice enough so that you know how you can actually be yourself. But success is also about finding time to figure out how you can be the best in the work that you do, or about asking yourself the right questions so that you can find the work that’s right for you.
So to accomplish success, you need to learn. But not less importantly: you have to make mistakes. A lot. I believe that mistakes are simply there to point you in a different direction. They are always there to guide you. And when you start to see them as a way to make your life better, you’ll see that it enables you to focus on developing your own potential and banish useless feelings like shame and failure.
What I’ve learned and now consider to be true is that all the great things in my life have always been preceded by some sort of a learning process and that the mistakes that I made along the way have taken me to where I am right now. But all of this greatness doesn’t just happen overnight or by getting a mention on an A-list. Success is a loooong process and what you need for it is time, dedication and patience.
Success is also about understanding your own potential
There is also no real success for me without focusing on who the person is you want to be. This kind of power is about how you bring everything in your life – big or small – in line with who you really are. It’s about understanding your full potential.
That is what success is all about for me: being sincere to people regardless of their status, standing for what you find important and doing work that gives you inspiration and energy. This kind of power is what is considered as authentic leadership and might be best explained by Gary Zukav. He wrote in The Seat of the Soul:
“When we align our thoughts, emotions, and actions with the highest part of ourselves, we are filled with enthusiasm, purpose, and meaning… When the personality comes fully to serve the energy of its soul, that is authentic empowerment.” – Gary ZukavTweet
Logically, authentic leadership is about making it a priority in your life to fulfill your goals and desires in a meaningful way. It’s an approach that is defining success more from the inside out.
How to get there
That’s exactly what the secret to your own success is: alignment. Fulfill your desires by doing what you exactly are supposed to be doing. Walk the long road of bringing your life in line with its purpose and become the most powerful version of yourself. I can assure you that when you see this kind of power in someone or yourself, it is irresistible, inspiring and uplifting.
And sometimes I experience it myself too. For example if I get an insight from films, conversations or books and I want to share this insight with someone. Especially the insights that I know are going to help someone to live life more from the inside out. Therefore, I get a lot of energy and inspiration from having conversations that create aha-moments. Or coming up with ideas that help people reach their full potential, both personally and professionally. That is where my strength lies.
We all have our own strengths. Recognize them and know what makes you happy in order to live by it. It will help you define your own definition of success and not the one of others.
So how we as a society define success has been in my mind for years. Using more internal ways to create a definition of success and also see it as something that requires time, a good understanding of yourself, dedication and patience is in my opinion a more healthy and realistic one.
That’s just because I think that all individuals have an unique combination of skills, values and talents. And because of that, they are empowered by things that may be different from one another. If we let the world define what should make us happy and valued, we end up living the life of others.
I know for sure that every challenging experience offers the opportunity to grow, improve your life or learn something valuable about yourself. Those lessons can help you come closer to do the things that you really want. Share your personal definition of success in the comment section below. I like to hear from you!
Head over to my bookshelf
To find the books that I mentioned in this blog post.