In a single afternoon, how I defined success changed forever…

As a member of the bX business network, I have access to countless webinars spanning several years, featuring experts from a variety of backgrounds and industries who share their particular secrets to success.

I’m a “whatever it takes” kind of guy, so I’ve got into the habit of putting an hour aside each weekday to go back through the catalogue of past webinars, watch one, take notes/ screenshots and compile it into an easy-reference Word Document. I did this with the fantastic 10-Part Tony Robbins series Time Of Your Life that (in itself) was a big catalyst in Scribe becoming more than just a business concept- but that’s a story for another time…

So I was watching a webinar by bX Director Matt Alderton, titled ‘Preparing For Your Best Year Ever’- and he spends 45 minutes or so breaking down the art of goal-setting. I listened, took notes (and screenshots) and put it into my Word document- but in doing so, it reminded me of a day a few years back where I changed how I defined success. Here’s how it came about…

See, I’d recently celebrated a birthday, and as is customary, I’d taken a day out to go and brainstorm my goals for the next 12 months. While Matt recommends doing this at the end of the year, I prefer to do it when my birthday comes around. As people get older they begin to dread every looming birthday more. But as I see it, why dread the inevitable when you could celebrate another year of opportunity in front of you? So I make it a time for appreciating the last 12 months’ worth of milestones and to devise a plan of action for the next 12 months.

This means I unplug from social media, get outdoors, reflect- and strategise. I always get pumped for the year ahead, full of anticipation for the new outcomes I’d listed and committed myself to achieving.

But this time around?

I was thinking of the sacrifices I’d made. The time spent working solo, pressuring myself to do stuff barely noticed by the outside world. The amount of things left solely up to me to organise and put into place every day. Sure, it was all done with a clear destination in mind. Yet…

I was putting a line through these outcomes but feeling no particular sense of pride. No rush as I achieved another ‘Mission Accomplished’. As a result, I’d begun to wonder:

Is the juice worth the squeeze?

So here I was this particular Monday morning, having freshly clicked over another year, aboard a city-bound train, mountain bike swaying gently at my side, iPad and helmet stuffed into my Kathmandu backpack. After arriving in the city, I spent hours riding through the parks and beachside suburbs on a clear and sunny day, as all along I pondered:

What exactly do I want to achieve over the next 12 months?

Then it dawned on me:

I was unsatisfied because I’d come to define success by what I did, rather than who I became.

I’d become too engrossed in a legalistic, paint-by-numbers, cross-it-out view of achievement. It’s all well and good to look at your list of action items and see that you did a, b and c. But, more than anything-

I needed to pay closer attention to my attitude.

After all, attitude is the fuel that powers achievement.

The problem is that we’ve been encouraged to judge success simply by surface layer metrics, with no regard for the underlying story:

How many followers have we attracted?

How many subscribers do we have?

How many people have watched our videos or heard of us?

How much did we bank last financial year?

Where do we live?

What car/s do we drive?

Who do we know on a first-name basis?

What events have we attended and who else was there?

Where do we get to go on holiday?

These can all be indicators of some forms of success, sure- but they don’t mean that you are a success. Imagine you had all of these great things disappear overnight- what would you be left with, then?

Because if we can’t truthfully say the following:

  1. We enjoy our work and the difficult, frustrating parts are worth it
  2. Our attitude brings us fulfilment
  3. We’re confident we’ll reflect on the person we are now (one day) and be proud of us, even if we didn’t always make the right decision

Then success is being done wrong.

See, it’s one thing to do what needs to be done and simply to go through the motions-

But becoming that individual who does more than tick a box, who takes pride in what they do and who they become in the process? That’s next level stuff. It’s the kind of quality people can’t help but sit up and take notice of.

Succeeding is an event. But being a success is a state of mind.

Succeeding is temporary. But being a success is permanent.

Succeeding shows you stretch the limits. But success shows you persisted.

Succeeding gives you the chance to learn. But success continues learning.

I’m not sharing this to stand on some platform and boast of “enlightenment”. I share simply because I remember when I defined success the wrong way- a way that doesn’t necessarily equal fulfilment and won’t save you from a sense of imposter syndrome or victories that feel hollow.

So I defined success wrong, and I’d begun feeling burnt out. Remembering what it felt to be truly inspired was like the memory of a romance full of passion that’d since grown cool and practical. I wondered if the juice was really worth the squeeze and if it wasn’t, then what was the point?

But this particular afternoon- revelation came:

Because a change in attitude would lead to me accomplishing things beyond a mere list. So instead of defining the coming 12 months by a list of accomplishments, I had to scale it down to just a few, intangible things. In the end, I was left with just these 3 questions:

  1. What do I enjoy doing?
  2. What attitude do I want to embody?
  3. Who would I be proud of, as a person?

From there, it was actually fairly easy to plot out the next 12 months, based around just those 3 questions.

Attitude is the fuel that powers achievement.

So I rode out the rest of the afternoon, grabbed a late lunch and then boarded the evening train home, weary but content- and with clarity about my future.

So I encourage you to ask yourself these three questions for yourself. Get clear on them. Make your answer the foundation of your goals and your vision. Then go forward.

Like this article? Get every brand new one the moment it drops!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s