The Stages Of Success
With the ending of one year and the beginning of another, comes reflection, and often goal setting for the year to come. This is a hugely useful and very wise practice, however it can also become overwhelming and doomed for failure if you don’t set the foundational pieces.
Defining success. The term ‘success’ is rather ambiguous. It’s open to individual interpretation, which is both liberating as well as potentially confusing. Before you can define a goal or an endgame you must define what success means to you. I’m not referring to a canned version of a successful life. I’m not asking you to google ‘success’ and see which results pop up. What one person sees as wild success, another person may not be interested in at all. Additionally, what you see as success may be too big for another person to even conceptualize, which is why you must define what success means to you and you alone. You can’t let someone else define success for you and your life. Your idea of success will be in alignment with your personal values, and your dreams. What’s realistic for you, will not necessarily feel realistic or plausible for the next person, which is why you have to keep your eyes on your own paper here. Focus on your life, your dreams, your passions, your desires, your values. Focus. Ready?
When you hear the word ‘success’, what do you think? What do you feel?
Do you think of being able to run a half marathon? Being able to pay your rent, and put aside $50/month in savings? Do you think of creating a stable, healthy, loving relationship? Do you think of being able to take your family on a two-week vacation every year? Or do you think of the Oprah’s and Richard Branson’s of the world, and feel that only when you reach that level, will you be successful? How do you measure success? What does it look like for you?
The idea is not to struggle. The concept is to strive, be strategic, smart and adaptable, and to remain determined to succeed.
Allow me to offer a tool if I may. You decide if it works for you, take it or leave it. I’ve found that this method takes a lot of the ambiguity out of the idea of success.
Break your success up into stages.
Stage One is the immediate definition of success. For you to feel successful now, and in the coming weeks and months, what would have to be put into place?
- What would be different?
- What would feel different?
- Will you feel less stressed?
- Will you feel more joy?
- Will you act differently?
- How would your daily routine change?
Make a list of your definition of success in the immediate future. This is your Stage One of success.
*A huge disclaimer here and any time during goal setting: You are a constantly evolving being, therefore it’s natural for your goals and definitions of success to change and develop. I encourage you to plan things as you would like them now, and when your ideas and desires change and grow, adjust your goals accordingly! Nothing is set in stone, certainly not your life. Give yourself the freedom to change as your world changes.*
Stage Two is a year from now. Think a year out, what does success mean twelve months from now? Imagine in one year that you have succeeded and feel accomplished. What does that look like? What’s different?
- Are you living in the same place?
- Do you have the same friend circles?
- Has your income changed?
- Has your health changed?
- Has your relationship changed?
- Have you traveled?
- How’s your confidence?
- What about your overall life is different?
Get clear with yourself on what Stage Two of success looks and feels like for you. Write it down!
Stage Three of success. This is the big one. This is your big, fulfilled-life definition of success. Choose the timeframe that works for you for this stage. You might feel that looking five years ahead is as far as you can see. You might feel that you can see 10, 20, or even 30 years ahead. Find a timeframe that you feel you can comfortably play with, and begin crafting your definition of success. I find that ten years is as far as I can personally look ahead. Aside from things like “I’d like to raise happy, healthy children and travel around world-schooling them with my partner.” which is likely imagining more than ten years ahead as I’m currently single – for the most part, my definitions of success are imaginable in the next ten years. That’s me though, find what works for you.
In your Stage Three of success:
- What does your daily life look like?
- What have you accomplished?
- How is your health?
- How is your love life?
- How is your heart?
- Do you laugh every day?
- Do you help people in need?
- Do you live in a big mansion? Or a tiny house?
- Do you have children?
- Are you happy?
Clarity is the ultimate goal here. Get crystal clear on what success means to you, and you will have a much easier time attaining that which makes you feel successful.
If you like setting goals (which I highly recommend) then I encourage you to do the above work first. This way you’ll have a really clear picture of what you actually want, and you can set your goals in accordance with your vision of success.
And please *I can’t stress this enough* do not ever compare your life or your version of success with that of another. None of us is better or worse than the next. We’re all doing the best we can with the knowledge we have. Keep your focus on creating the life that YOU want. After all, your life is about creating your own happiness. As a beautiful being on this planet you are deserving and worthy of all of the desires in your heart. Believe in this. You are worth it. If you ever forget it, send me an email and I’ll remind you 😉
Now, go create your happiness!
Now I’d love to hear from you.
What are some examples of your different stages of success?
Does this tool help you to look at your plan with more clarity?