What do you want? Seems like a simple question doesn’t it. For those who have a tendency to people please, this question is nearly impossible to answer. If you’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying to either be what you think others want you to be, or trying to make things okay for others – you may feel unsure of what your answer is to this simple question. And that’s okay.
Or, you may give a vague answer… “I want to be happy.” A good starter plan, yet not exactly a clear path. I recently asked our sales staff at work to tell us their definition of success. It’s very interesting how our place on the path of our lives influences what this definition looks like. When we are younger we often list financial related things to what success means to us. Later in life it may be about contribution, leaving a legacy. There is no wrong answer - you just need to know what YOUR answer is.
No matter how YOU define success, the most important thing is that you know what your definition is. Once you have this clarity, if you want to set some goals – they need to help deliver you to the destination that looks like success for YOU.
Tony Robbins says something powerful in the quote above. He uses the example of the well know actor and comedian Robin Williams when he talks about this concept. Tony knew and loved Robbin, who accomplished pretty much every single goal he set out to accomplish, yet ended up taking his own life. A true example of achieving goals, yet not goals that were related to feeling fulfilled or his own definition of success.
I list my own definition of success as the amount of joy I feel. How much joy I tap into. That’s how I know if I’m being successful. The great thing about this definition for me is that I am totally in control of it. It’s not up to anyone else, conditions, circumstances – I have free will to tap into it the best I can from wherever I’m at emotionally. I can always reach for the best feeling thought and feeling available to me that will take me closer to the feeling of joy. I also like this definition for me because it’s not about getting something – it’s about ALLOWING it, tapping into it. If I simply let go of my resistance, joy floats right up to the top and is available. When I feel it, I automatically share it and contribute it to the world.
This leads me to the title of this edition of the blog. We can't get where we WANT to be by focusing on the fact that it's missing. We can't get to success by focusing on or thinking we are failures. So here is a concept that at first is going to sound kind of counter-intuitive… You don’t get what you want by going after it. You get what you want by BEING it.
Think about a time that you really went after something that you felt you wanted. Once you had it or achieved it, did you feel fulfilled? Did the feeling of fulfillment last for years? Months? Days? Minutes??? If you didn’t feel SUSTAINED fulfillment once you acquired what you wanted, it’s likely that your goals and your definition of success are not on the same page. Look at your definition of success and then take a look at your goals. If the goals have nothing to do with what you determine success looks like for you - you are going to end up without fulfillment. #fail.
You’ve probably heard this idea right here in these blogs before – but if you want to attract a mate, a friendship, a situation, a thing, you have to BE a match to it. You have to BE what it is you WANT. If your goal is to have harmony in your relationship, you must BE harmonious with yourself. If you want to be cherished by your mate, you must cherish YOURSELF. We are getting what we ARE over and over and over again.
How can you tell where you are in your attainment of success according to your own definition? What is happening in your life? How are you feeling? These are indicators of what you are attracting. Feeling angry? You’ll get more reasons to feel angry or you'll feel attacked by others. Do you complain about people not returning your calls? Guess what… you’re going to get more people not returning your calls or the feeling of being ignored. We get what we focus on and what we are whether we want it or not. So if you have a vision of what you desire in your life – start BEING it. If your answer earlier was “I want to be happy”, you know exactly what you must do to have success in having what you want, you must BE happy – right now.
The quote above came from my counselor Joy last week. Things happen, we get in foul moods, we feel like we aren’t making progress, someone hurts our feelings. These things happen, there’s no denying it. Feeling the feelings that come through when these times appear on our path is crucial. Notice and don’t judge yourself for those feelings. Don’t abandon yourself and say you “should” feel differently. Just notice and offer compassion to those feelings as they come up. Stay loving to yourself and to others while you allow the feelings to pass through.
If we use the dressing room melt down example from last week’s Sandy Chat, I can feel the feelings of disappointment, frustration, discouragement and STILL stand in my own light. I can love myself and have compassion for myself and then re-aim myself toward my definition of success. This stuff takes practice and an awareness of what is it we actually WANT. Compassion for yourself when you aren’t seeing yourself as successful is calling up the feelings of kindness, caring, tenderness and gentleness. Most of us have had the experience of compassion towards others, but not towards ourselves.
Take some time and ask yourself the question of what is your definition of success. This will help avoid the tragedy Tony Robbins refers to in reaching our goals and not feeling fulfillment. Then notice how often you are making success happen throughout the day by BEING what it is you believe success is. If your definition is about being loving – notice how often you are BEING loving throughout the day and realize you are being successful. If your definition is about finances – notice how often you are BEING abundant in your mindset throughout the day and realize, you are hitting it out of the park!
Just one more tip I learned from Tony, we humans typically feel the most fulfilled when our vision of success involves growth and/or contribution. When our definition is more about significance, or variety, or safety or getting something we tend to not feel fulfillment with those definitions. Expansion and giving are the routes that fulfill our spirit. So if success to you means love, make it about GIVING love rather than getting it and you’ll feel fulfilled rather than at the will of others treatment of you.
Speaking of giving… the quote below kind of says it all for me. We tend to think that when we are feeling successful, happy, fulfilled that is not contributing to others. But just as our grouchy, angry, defensive energy is a focus on lack, has an impact on everyone we encounter - our joyful, happy, fulfilled energy can light the way for others, inspire and uplift them. Our own fulfillment is one of the greatest gifts we can contribute to others. I encourage you to think about what your definition of success is and then catch yourself BEING it!
Sandy Edie Hansen
I use this space to "Chat" about things I am working through and learning in my life currently. Join me!