Success. It’s a powerful word, isn’t it? And, if you’re anything like how I used to be, it’s not a word you often apply to your own life. The sad thing is, many of us don’t consider ourselves to be ‘successful’ in our careers or our home lives, or in any other part of life, even if we’ve already achieved so many things. We think that once we earn a certain amount of money, we’ll be successful. Or once we move to a bigger house, we’ll be successful. Or once we have our own family and have raised our kids, we’ll be successful. We each define success in different ways, but most of us still find it hard to use the word when talking about ourselves.
Let me tell you, even if you don’t think you’re successful, you are. Just by getting to this point in life, having overcome hundreds of obstacles and changed direction several times, you are successful. If you’re reading this because you want something more out of life – and because you know there is more to life, as long as you’re willing to work for it – you’re already a success.
What can help is coming up with your very own Success Sentence, which – if you couldn’t guess – is a sentence that sums up success for you on a personal level. Some people may write ‘Success for me means earning £100,000 a year’. Some people may write ‘Success for me means earning £50,000 a year’. For some, it won’t be money-based at all. They might put ‘Success for me means doing what I love for a living’ or ‘Success for me means having the ability to move to the country I’ve always dreamed of moving to’ or ‘Success for me means raising my children to adulthood’ or simply ‘Success for me means being happy’. Whatever success means for you, write it out now in your very own Success Sentence. Here’s mine:
Success for me means doing what I love for a living, earning enough to live comfortably with no debt or financial stress, and having the ability to give back in a meaningful way.
If you write out your Success Sentence and realise you’ve already achieved what you’ve written down, add I am a success onto the end of it and then do a happy dance. If you aren’t yet successful by your own definition, don’t freak out. It just means you have something to aim for – and having things to aim for and progress towards is what makes life so wonderful.
Knowing this and believing this, however, are two very different things, which is why I want you to get your journal or open your Word document and write down every single ‘success’ you can think of that you’ve already achieved in life. Basically, anything that you feel proud of, anything that you saw to completion, and anything that you accomplished despite having a load of obstacles thrown in your way… it all counts as being successful. Then, once you’ve written down as many as you can think of, whittle them down to your Top Ten Successes. You can do this in several ways: go by how you feel when you remember the achievement, go by how many people your accomplishment impacted, how much it changed your life, how fun it was, or how difficult it was to achieve. Your top ten doesn’t have to consist of earth-shattering, life-changing events; if they meant something to you, that’s all that matters. At this stage I’d also recommend writing a little paragraph or two about your accomplishment, reminding yourself why you did it, what you had to overcome in order to do it, and why you’re proud of it. This can be a real eye-opener of an exercise, as you might remember things you’d forgotten, or you might start thinking of things from years ago in a different light.
You can also increase your chances of success by changing who and what you surround yourself with. Don’t listen to negative news reports; put on an inspiring podcast. Don’t spend endless hours watching mind-numbing TV every weekend; read a business or self-development book. Surround yourself with people you want to be like, people who support your dreams and lift you up, people with positive energy who go after what they want and don’t make excuses for themselves. What you focus on expands, and if you’re surrounded by people full of negativity, that negativity will be the thing that expands, filling up every corner of your life. And that sounds like no fun whatsoever.
So, go on, let me know: what does success mean to you? And what is your Success Sentence?
This blog post was taken from the ‘Write Your Success’ chapter of Jessica Grace Coleman’s new book, Write Your Life: The Ultimate Life Hack For Achieving Your Dreams, out now!