Create Your Own Version of Success
After college, I worked in the tech industry as a technical sales engineer. The pride of often being the only woman in the room along with the experiences, awards, and the ability to financially take care of myself and my family proved satisfying for a time.
After ten years in my career, now with a husband and two kids, I found myself starting to feel completely overwhelmed. It was as if the stress of the day would pile on, because there was no time for release. As Sisyphus before me, I would push the stress up a hill, only to have it roll down upon me - it was just compounding. I found myself becoming more easily irritated, frustrated, and angry with my husband, kids, and work. It was exhausting.
From the outside, my life looked desirable; from the inside, it sometimes felt depleting. How was I so unhappy if I was doing everything I was supposed to do to achieve success?
Happiness, however, does not come from success, but rather success comes from happiness. As outlined in the study "Happiness is more a cause than a consequence of career success," happy people are more likely to perform well and succeed in the workplace. The research states:
Relative to their less happy peers…they are more satisfied with their jobs, receive more favorable evaluations from supervisors, and perform better on work-related tasks.
Living someone else’s version of success.
So, if happiness causes success and not the other way around, how did we get here, chasing success to find happiness?
Many of us are actually living someone else’s version of success, instead of their own. In “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind,” Vishen Lakhiani writes:
Our models of reality are often unknown to us. Some models we know we have...But we also have models of reality embedded deep within that we’re mostly unaware of. What you know you believe is much smaller than what you don’t know you believe.
His words ring true for many people’s current versions of success. We have developed a version of success based on messages received as children and young adults from family, teachers, friends, and culture.
For me personally, it was all about achieving goals and aspirations. I thought if I worked hard, sacrificed everything, and made a lot of money, I would be living the best life I could. What this leads to is chasing success that never allows one to be happy with where they are.
Instead of believing the truth, that we can enjoy the fruits of our labor, we listen to the lie that true happiness lies just around the corner. We choose to "succeed" rather than to be happy.
[Related: Look Within to Conquer the Need for "More"]
How to create your own version of success.
"Success" comes from the Latin word “succedere,” which means “to come after, follow after.” In time, it moved to the Latin word “successus,” which means “a good result, happy outcome.” The kicker, for me, came when I saw how the word morphed in the 1530s - it began to mean “results” or “outcomes.”
So originally, success meant the happy outcome. The happy outcome is about being happy now. In order to create your own success, your own happiness, it is imperative to figure out what makes you happy.
Here are three steps to creating your own version of success.
1) Determine who you want to be and what you want to in life.
In doing so, you will need to forego others who want you to be or do what they think you should. What may be more difficult is foregoing who you thought you should be or what you thought you should be doing.
In order to do this, you will need to look inside. You have the answers you are truly looking for within you.
2) In order to get clear on your version of success, run through this exercise.
Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, then:
Picture yourself being in the happiest place you can image. Where are you? What are you doing? What does your day look like? Your morning, afternoon, and night? How does this perfect day appear?
Imagine that you get to be or do something every day that brings you immense happiness and joy. What are you doing? Who are you being? Who are you with? Where are you?
Take your time to imagine. Per Mark Murphy’s article "Neuroscience Explains Why You Need to Write Down Your Goals If You Actually Want to Achieve Them:"
Research shows that people who very vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals.
After imagining each question with your eyes closed, open your eyes and just start to write. It is important to write down your own version of success. In Stacey Hanke's article “Write Your Professional Goals Into Reality," she states:
One study by Dr. Gail Matthews, a professor of psychology, revealed participants were twice as likely to achieve their goals when they regularly wrote them down.
3) Start doing what makes you happy today.
Even if it is just five minutes a day. According to the article "6 Benefits of Happiness According to the Research,” research shows happiness is connected with life longevity. Happy people tend to live longer.
Remember that success is the happy outcome, and the happy outcome is being happy now.
Jessica LaMarre is a writer, coach, and workshop facilitator. She helps women access personal and professional success from the inside out. She has been featured in Thrive Global and Medium and runs workshops on mindfulness, working inspired, and overcoming stress, overwhelm, and overwork. You can learn more about her at www.lovepersonalgrowth.com.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Workshop Facilitator and Technical Sales Engineer
Jessica LaMarre is a writer, coach, and workshop facilitator who combines her corporate technology experience with her passion and knowledge from her personal development company, Love Personal Growth to help women access personal and professional success from the inside out. She has been featured in Thrive Global and Medium and runs workshops on Mindfulness, Working Inspired, and Overcoming Stress, Overwhelm, and Overwork for a $3B technology company. To further support women, she offers one-on-one coaching... Continue Reading
Start your free membership to continue reading and learning from people who want to help you succeed.Sign up for free