A lot has been said and written about success and how to reach it, but I find that the conversation around succeeding in life always revolves around the money on your bank account and the possessions one could (should?) have.
There was a time where I let that reach me and I felt quite unhappy that I couldn’t get (or didn’t already have) what others were blatantly showing as their success. I learned the hard way that nothing good comes out of jealousy, and that the time we spend envying others is time we’re not spending on our own life.
Then I learned another very important piece of information that I haven’t let go of since.
Successful people have their own definition of success.
It’s quite simple and it seems obvious, but it’s harder to apply in the long run than you’d think. Why? Because we are surrounded by people who want to show the world their beautiful life through social media, the news, advertisement, etc. Some people love sharing how successful they are, while the majority of us don’t. But when you hear the same message multiple times, it’s hard to ignore it. Comparison is inevitable, and that’s the source of the problem.
I don’t know how many times I actually caught myself feeling bad because I didn’t have the same number of visits to my blog as some famous writers who have been doing that for 10 years. It can quickly fall to jealousy; in my case it was mostly envy: I was happy these people were so successful, but I wanted the same. I was spending more time thinking about it than actually writing a blog post or promoting it, which you’ll agree with me was so counterproductive.
What is the purpose of having a lot of visits on the blog? How is it a sign of success? I got to ask myself these questions to realise that I was looking at the wrong thing. All this time I let what others were sharing be my point of reference. I shifted my focus on what would make me feel accomplished, and you know what it was? Not visits. It was being consistent in my writing and publishing at least one article per week. It’s been two months that I focus on writing consistently rather than worrying about the numbers. Every week that passes, I feel super accomplished and proud that the blog gets more and more great content, and I feel inspired to continue.
I thought it was important to tell that story to illustrate the problem of looking at others’ for our own successes. I’m not here to give lessons but rather to share what I learn along the way. If you want to see how you can make the shift yourself, check below for a quick guide.[
How to define your own success
- Build self-awareness around who you are as a person, to know where you stand: learn about your natural preferences, reflect on your story and what you have already learned in your journey.
- This will allow you to think about your own personal definition of success: when you know who you are, you know how you will feel accomplished.
- Define specific goals and realistic deadlines (if possible, don’t even set a time frame for this goal)
- Work work work towards that goal. If you don’t work hard, it means it’s not something you really want. Spend some time reflecting along the way to adjust it.
- Each day, focus on the actions you can take to bring you closer to your closer, however small they look.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you still feel envious at times: it’s a work in progress. Stay self-aware to catch yourself doing it and bring yourself back to your own goal.
- Know how to celebrate successes. Don’t move from one goal to another before celebrating properly. I don’t necessarily mean throwing a big party; it can be simply pausing and acknowledging that you made it because you freaking deserve it #peptalk
Repeating these every day, every week, will help you build awareness on how you define success. As usual, in personal development you never really complete a task, as you have to remain self-aware and keep learning. But what you’ll do is simply bring your attention back to what matters to you, not to others.