A Different View of Success

I love the quote from Marianne Williamson in which she stated, “Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in ways that served others.” I’d like to focus on this concept as I think the words “success” and “achievement” have so much wrapped up in them – they can be quite the trigger words for some. What do you feel when these two words are uttered? Do you find yourself cringing or do you find yourself feeling motivated and thinking “hell ya!” Or, perhaps you are somewhere in between – feeling quite neutral about it all.

Since my work is on achieving more in life, I wanted to add my perspective to the mix. To me, superachieving is using your talents and abilities to make this world a better place. A superachiever wants to grow themselves into better human beings and leave this earth a little better than when we first arrived.

Achievement doesn’t come from what we do, but who we are – we are human beings after all (not human doings). I think a lot of people see achievement as going after and earning tangible things like promotions, awards, degrees, and so on, when it is so much more. Let’s unpack this a bit – when you think of a successful person, what do you think about? What is the first thing that comes to mind? Usually what I hear from clients is that it is someone who is well-educated, nicely dressed, has a nice car, and lives in a beautiful house. So we first tend to go for the tangible. Let’s dive a little deeper though – is this person an a-hole? Probably not, right? Let’s flush out the characteristics of the successful individual, the non-tangibles. Take a moment to think about it. I see them as someone who is nice, kind, and wants to make a difference in the lives of others. They are the type of person that is supportive of others, not jealous of other’s success, and is genuinely happy. They know that there are the inevitable bumps in the road that we all have to face; they know that life will sometimes throw some pretty big curve balls, but they relish the learning that this brings. They truly want to serve others with their talents and abilities and do so in some form or fashion (whether it is through their “day” job or not). They may or may not have a nice car. They may or may not have a big bank account. They may or may not live in a posh neighborhood. But does this mean they aren’t successful?

You see folks, when you’re on your deathbed, are you going to be satisfied and fulfilled with how you lived your life because you had the best car, nicest house, you earned three college degrees, and you have a huge bank account? Or, are you going to be satisfied and fulfilled because you were of service to others – you have left a legacy through the relationships you built, the people you supported, those that you loved. Which achievements do you consider to be a measure of success? Something to think about – of course you can have achieved many tangible things, but is it really considered success if you didn’t grow yourself in the process? I have found that the more I focus on being in service to others, surprisingly the more tangible rewards come my way. Obviously that is not the reason I am in service of others, but I think they naturally flow together.

Your call to action today is to think about who you are in terms of your achievements. If you don’t like who you are or some aspect of yourself, make a decision and a plan to grow yourself today.