For me the measure of a successful life isn’t your job title, the size of your house, or the beautiful things you can afford. True success is living the life that is authentic to who you are. It’s living fully and fulfilling your true purpose on earth while embracing joy.
To find true happiness, you need to define success by what holds real meaning in your life — relationships, making a difference, living authentically or perhaps having freedom. I can almost promise you that if you chase after the next best thing, you’ll be disappointed. After the short-term thrill, you will be let down once the newness wears off.
So here are six ways you can define your own version of success:
1. Create your own standards. Quit judging yourself according to other people’s definitions of success. Decide what is most important in your life — perhaps it’s happy relationships, a successful career, or health and fitness. Then for each one, find a way to measure your progress that is meaningful to you.
2. Choose the path of fulfillment. You can have all the money in the world, the finest house in the neighborhood, and the most impressive job title, but it won’t mean a thing unless you are living the life you were meant to live. Find your calling in life. Listen to your heart. And aim for inner fulfillment, not external symbols of success. For me that is continually growing and contributing in any way I can.
3. Focus on doing one percent more. It’s important to set goals, but once you know where you’re heading, it’s time to turn your focus to each step of the journey. If you commit yourself to doing and giving just a little bit more than you were willing to yesterday, you will bring yourself closer every day to your ultimate goal of success.
4. Set intrinsic verses ego goals. Decide what character muscles you want to build while in pursuit of your goals. Who do you want to become? What character muscles do you want to grow? By creating success measures that are intrinsically rooted, rather than ego based, will help you to create real change and sustain your motivation during challenging times.
5. Gift it forward. Knowing that you have done your part to make the world a better place can bring the greatest sense of fulfillment of all. When you measure your success, ask yourself: have I made a difference to someone’s life? Do my efforts help to improve the world around me?
6. Develop resilience. No matter what your ultimate goal is or how you measure success, inevitably there will be roadblocks in your way. You will make mistakes, and things won’t always go your way. The difference between success and failure is whether you learn from those mistakes and persevere in the face of setbacks — or give up on your dream.
Authentic happiness emerges from a combination of passion, confidence, optimism and the pursuit of a lifestyle that gives you what I’ve always wanted: to be fully present to your children as they grow up, to know that I am making a valuable difference in the lives of others, and to be grounded in who I am and what I stand for.
After all, isn’t it our innate human desire to know that our life matters? Don’t we all want to be assured that we are living lives of significance and will leave the world a little better than when we found it?
Decide on your own measures of success. Own them. And commit to living them today.
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What are your measures of a successful and fulfilling life? Love to hear from you.