I spent 15 years in HR working my way up the ladder in the corporate world. I worked with many leaders and spent years in personal development. 3 years ago I gave up my corporate career to pursue my passions and become a life coach and author.
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I spent a couple of years traveling the world, volunteering overseas, living in ashrams and on retreats in a journey of self-discovery but also learning about what makes us happy and how we achieve success.
One of the main motivations for this massive life change was the fact that the dream I’d been sold of success never materialized. I had a successful career, earned more than I ever thought possible, a nice car, house by the beach – everything that I ever wanted yet the one thing we all want was elusive; happiness, fulfillment, and meaning. This lead me to question the meaning of success. Is it in our money, job title, status or what we own or is it more about who we are, the way we feel and who we help?
I used to think my work success was separate to my life and whilst work paid for my life I didn’t want it to BE my life. Yet success and happiness are linked across all areas of our life, it is all life and therefore one of the same thing. When we are successful in life the rest flows on, in work, relationships, everything.
We have an idea of success that we chase often at the expense of what success actually means to us. The search for this success (money, material things, bigger house, better car etc) is what leads to an unsuccessful and unhappy life. What is success really and how do we find it – why is it different for every person?
I’ve worked with people and leaders over the years in my role as a senior HR professional and now more recently a life coach. So often I see the same mistakes:
- That we feel we have to be someone different at work, that work is somehow separate to life.
- Conforming to an ideal of success – following society’s model not our own.
- We compare to others and feel we should be more like them.
- Lacking confidence and letting fear get the better of us.
It all starts with us, being aware of who we are and what we want and from there defining what success means to us. If we are authentic and comfortable in ourselves this flows into our confidence our presence and how we interact with others, leading to success. Being in touch with who we are and what we want leads to us making good decisions and better choices ie. A career we love, playing to our strengths and navigating life successfully. It’s not a one size fits.
Being in touch with who we are and what we want leads to us making good decisions and better choices ie. A career we love, playing to our strengths and navigating life successfully. It’s not a one size fits all, though, success is different to everyone.
When asked what success is we struggle to explain what that means to us and what it should feel like. So we accept society’s version of success without really checking if this aligns with our own desires or if success for us could look a little different. Success means different things for different people and other people’s success is not necessarily ours. Many people thought I was successful when I was climbing the corporate ladder but whilst my bank account was full, my soul was empty.
I knew this was not how success should feel. Likewise, for a colleague of mine, her in-laws did not define her high-flying career with the biggest company in the country as success. They’d have preferred her to stay at home to bring up the children. For their generation success was looking after your husband, being a good home maker and bringing up the children. Success is different for everyone which is why we get to define what success means for us.
All my life I was searching for someone who had the answer. A teacher, leader, spiritual guide. I wanted to find those who had the secret to success and learn from them. When I met these people I thought if I could be like them I’d be successful. I felt like I had to be like them to have what they had (even though I wasn’t really sure what that was). But the more we try to be like others the less authentic we become and this impacts our ability to be happy.
I’ve since learned that true authenticity is the path to happiness and we all have ‘the secret’ within us even though we’re all different. We constantly under estimate our own power and when we find these gurus and teachers what they end up doing is simply showing us what we have had all along. They don’t give us the answers but they might teach us how to find the answers that are already there within us.
I spent years following different models of success, watching others do the same and helping people develop into the best versions of themselves. After I quit the corporate world and wrote my first book I put what I’d learned into practice. I now make a living helping others discover their success and find happiness and here’s the 5 keys to success:
- It’s quality, not quantity. So often we think we need to be seen working 80 hours a week to be successful. It’s about what we do whilst we’re there, the relationships we build and the results we achieve.
- You define what success means to you (it’s not a norm we follow).
- Be your authentic self and be the best version of that you can be.
- Know who you are and what you want (awareness).
- It’s up to us to create it rather than a teacher/mentor to give it.