Are you too hard on yourself?
People today often put a lot of pressure on themselves to become “successful”. The problem is, we never really stop to look at what success means for us – success is actually an individual concept and one that can be defined differently by every person. In today’s blog post, we want to look at how we think society is looking at success in the wrong way and how you can be successful in everything that you do.
What does success mean to you?
Success is such a personal thing. For some people it’s having a beautiful family, for others it’s a career or lots of money. Take a few moments to think of what success really means to you and jot it down. It is a really useful exercise to write down your own definition of what success is so that you’re not influenced by society’s definition of working non-stop and earning millions (although that might be your true definition of success)!
Redefine success for yourself – make it really resonate with you rather than society’s default position of money and power. You don’t have to show this definition to anyone but it must feel true to you. Don’t forget – you’re never going to be happy if you’re not aiming for what you personally want to achieve.
How about an example?
To use a very personal example, I left university having already gained a job at a leading law firm in London. I was enticed by the status of the law firm, the opportunities it held and the money. This was success for me as a 21 year old. However, having worked at the firm for a good while, the idea of success totally changed for me. I didn’t feel successful working 60+ hour weeks and weekends, never seeing my family and always having to cancel on people. The draw of the money and the status was no longer enough. Success for me meant a life of happiness. And so, in 2016, success was resigning from the law firm and carving a new career path for myself.
Success is a vehicle
It may seem like a strange thing to say, but at LLLY we look at success like we would at a car. It simply gets you to where you want to be in terms of your happiness. However, as with health or with money, sometimes we get it wrong and think it is arriving at the destination that brings the happiness, rather than the journey itself.
You must look at the whole journey from A to B to recognise your successes. Think of an area of your life right now – career, family, health, whatever you want. Write a list of all the things that you have done successfully in the journey of that life path. Even though you may not be exactly where you want to end up, you will have accomplished things that are successes. For example, if you’re training for a marathon, you might have started running every day for at least 30 minutes. That’s a success in our books!
What does failure mean anyway?
People often feel unsuccessful because they think that they are constantly failing. But what is failing? Is it when something doesn’t turn out how you want it to? It’s a really hard thing to describe once you think about it properly.
But who was it that said “If at first you don’t succeed, get up and try again”? This saying is so true. At LLLY, we think that failure is a great word and one that gets too much negative press! It means that something didn’t work one way, so you should try it another way. It means recognising the things that didn’t quite go to plan and making them work for you the next time. Failure is learning and improving.
But be kind to yourself too: when you set standards for yourself that are too high for where you are right now, standards that you know you realistically wouldn’t achieve right now, then you are actually setting yourself up for failure. Don’t say that you’re going to wake up and run 10 kilometres if you haven’t ever run before. That’s setting yourself up to fail.
Go for it!
No matter how long you have been thinking of yourself as a failure, we encourage you to start creating a success pattern in your life now. List everything that you think is a success in your life and honour it. Define success for yourself. Make your own rules. Decide what makes you happy. It could even be useful for you to use an affirmation every day to help you believe in your success (see our blog post on affirmations here)! We would love to hear how you get on!