Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on our Redefining Success 2015 Conference, and I’m getting really excited. We’ve got an amazing line up of inspiring women coming to speak, a beautiful venue and conversations about our health, happiness and the illusion of perfection. And as I’ve been designing it, I keep coming back to the same question:
What is success, anyway?
There are so many physical markers that flash in front of our eyes on a daily basis: The perfect size 4 body, the clean house, well-behaved children, lots of money, the best clothes – you name it. The media, and our own egos, can list off dozens of outward markers for “success”.
But what does that really have to do with anything? Do those things really make us happy? I mean, I love a new pair of shoes just as much as the next girl, but how long does that “yes!” feeling last? A few days? Maybe a week or two? And that’s normal, there’s nothing wrong with that, but how can we tell the difference between real success in our lives, and quick fixes that leave us feeling empty after a little while?
I was going through a meditation with Oprah and Deepak Chopra on success, and here’s how they defined it (I’m paraphrasing here): When you feel “grabby” and needy when you acquire something, that’s ego. When you feel warm from the inside out, and calm as you acquire something, that is grace, and that it true success.
I love that.
It got me thinking to one of the times in my life when I felt incredibly successful: When my business was featured on The Today Show in a segment about women transforming their lives. I couldn’t have been more proud, or more blow away by what I had created. We worked tirelessly before the segment to make sure we were prepared, and it really taught me that when opportunity meets preparation, magic happens.
In putting this experience through the lens of Orpah and Deepak’s definition, I remember feeling elated, nervous and full of joy, but I don’t remember feeling “grabby” at all. It was this overwhelming feeling of warmth, laced with excitement. In looking back, I was in line with my reason for being here, and that’s what made all the difference. When I think of it today, I’m just as excited now as I was then. The joy hasn’t faded.
As you head into the coming days, take just a few minutes to reflect back on your last big success and how you felt. Were you keeping up with the Joneses? Or were you enjoying warmth from the inside out, calming and nurturing? It’s a fun exercise! We learn so much about ourselves when we take just a few minutes to ask these kinds of questions.
Now that you’ve painted that picture, take just a few minutes to think of two or three things you could do this week to pull that feeling of warm, smooth success into the coming days. Here are few ideas just to help you get started:
Calling a friend who’s going through a hard time
Checking in on a neighbor you haven’t seen in a while
Thanking your boss or co-worker for doing a great job
Eating well and taking care of that body that allows you to do what you love
Doing the best job you can, and focusing clearly on the task at hand
Leave love notes for your spouse, boyfriend, friends or children
Because here’s the thing: No one else can live this life for you. What other people are doing, buying and saying will carry no weight as you lay on your deathbed looking back on your life. You will care about what you wanted, what you needed, how you loved and what you did well. So let’s keep that in mind as you carve your own path to success through small steps that you design.