Lately I’ve been focusing a good deal on “success” in my writing and workshops, and this month I had a startling realization:
“Success” is a concept and an experience that is utterly intimidating to many women.
In my experience, women view “success” as a label that automatically refers to wealth, power, influence, and control. Rather than success referring to one’s own definition of achieving what you truly want in life and work, it’s become a reflection of how much money you’ve made and what you’ve put in the bank, along with other outer trappings of financial achievement.
Well, I don’t view success that way at all (anymore). To me, success is this…
Achieving what you want — on your own personal terms, and following your own definition – and doing so in a way that is fulfilling and enriching to you.
That’s success to me.
What is success to you?
Turns out, most women fear and shudder at success. While they might say they want it, there’s a chronic lack of readiness for it.
The Secret Sauce to Success
After years of reinventing myself and my life (and unfortunately being overly-attached to struggle), I’m in the process of letting go of struggle and letting in more peace and joy. I’m finding my pathway to success is less bumpy as I let go of needing to struggle.
In doing so, my conceptualization and experience of “success” has changed dramatically. I believe now that “success’ is all about claiming what you want, and doing the inner and out work of creating a joyful, peaceful and exciting life experience.
For me, that includes building a purposeful career, for others it means something else. Whatever it means to you, success offers the opportunity for a lifelong journey of learning, growing, applying what you’ve learned, and stretching to be the largest version of yourself.
My recipe for success – the “secret sauce” if you will, that I help others create — involves both “inner” and “outer” ingredients. Both are needed for optimal success.
The Inner ingredients you need:
Clarity – to experience yourself as successful, you must know what you want and tune out what society and culture and your “tribe” insist that you should have.
Courage – once you know what you want, you can’t have it unless you risk parts of yourself to get it.
Faith – You must believe that success is possible; otherwise it won’t be.
Readiness – While we hanker for success, most of us aren’t ready for it. We fear it, dread it and run from it. To experience success, you must release what keeps from wanting change.
Positivity – If all you see in your worldview is negativity, you won’t have success. You’ll miss vital opportunities and new pathways to your own growth
The Outer ingredients for success are:
Aligned and Inspired Action – We must take action to move forward – but the action needs to feel right and be in integrity, not coming from desperation or anger.
Resourcefulness – If things aren’t working as they are, you must tap into all your inner and outer resources and support to make the right changes for you.
Flexibility – Being overly attached how it must “look” is a recipe for struggle, not success.
Openness – Success involves being open to those who are sent to us to offer just the help we need, and just the right time. (And critique is important and necessary.)
Energy – You need energy, and lots of it, to create what you want.
I’ve observed that my own attention to each of these ingredients in the last year has unlocked me powerfully, and moved me forward to my definition of success.
As a personal example, regarding Courage – I’ve known for a long time that having a speaking demo is essential for me if I wish to be invited to speak more frequently at the national level. But I held back in filming myself in action, for many reasons, including: the timing wasn’t right, the venue wasn’t right, the topic wasn’t perfectly honed yet, etc. But truthfully, deep down, the inner reason I held back was my lack of readiness to launch to the next level, and that I downright afraid of putting myself out there to be critiqued.
Last month, I finally bit the bullet and all things conspired for me to film my talk to 200+ career women at the Business Women’s Forum in Hartford, CT. I did it!
Here’s a look:
Is it perfect? No. But is it perfect for me right now? Yup!
And it moved me forward in a powerful way to put myself out there. Wonderful, aligned gigs, opportunities, partners and clients have come my way because of it. Why? Because I decided “I am ready!” – I got over myself and got going.
What is your definition of success? And do you feel ready for it today? If not, can you muster the courage to increase your readiness and move forward, despite your fears?
Please share your thoughts about what scares you most about moving forward to your definition of “knock- your-socks-off” success.
Thank you for your openness and courage to share – you help others so much when you do.