What is Success?

What does success look like for you?

Back in 2019, I was asking a mentor of mine how he is able to keep a strong faith in the midst of an industry where ethics can often be compromised. He responded that he asks himself the same question every morning, “What does success look like today?” For him, that is honoring God, being with his family, serving clients, and investing in the next generation. Every morning he focuses on what success looks like that day, which can change depending on his schedule.

Recently, I’ve had to think a lot more about what success looks like to me. The things often seen as successful in the workplace don’t always align with how I want to live my life, and that’s fine with me. I’ve been in multiple rooms and conversations with leaders in my company or managers above me where they say the key to success is working extra hours, showing up early, and staying late. I tried that approach and it only led to exhaustion and the sacrifice of other things I enjoy.

Right now, a successful day would encompass each of the following: time with God, time with my friends or family, work, exercise, and inspiring others. Some days I achieve these, but there are definitely days where I fall short. If I work too much, I sacrifice multiple other tasks that I view as part of my daily success. Even though staying late may be creating more revenue for my company, that isn’t entirely what success looks like for me.

Some people want to stay late at work, put in extra hours, and be promoted. They may be working extra hours to send money to family or because that is what is important to them. Success for that person looks like a large paycheck. For some, success is living out of a car and traveling around the country for a couple years because they value adventure. For others, it is being at every single child’s school, athletic, or extra-curricular events.

Recently, I’ve been able to notice where other people try to push their vision of success on others. I didn’t realize that any advice I receive from someone is filtered through their perspective of success. I now have a different point of view when I look back at the conversation I had with a leader in my company. When he told me and my coworkers to show up early and stay late it was because that is valuable to him. His success is likely measured by knowing that he is at the office longer than everyone else.

Someone else’s version of success doesn’t have to be your version of success. Advice is biased through the other person’s lens of what they determine as valuable.

Are you striving towards your version of success or someone else’s?

Are you going after what you want or are you living to make your parents proud? Are you trying to live up to the pressure of a sibling or the expectations of a boss? You will burn out if you try to achieve someone else’s success. You will feel empty, exhausted, and frustrated when you ultimately achieve something you realize you never wanted in the first place.

Fight your battles, not someone else’s.

What does success look like today?

 

I appreciate you.

-JP

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