Defining Success

Last week I went to a really interesting session about Success, run by Anne Thompson from Change Potential .

I’m still thinking about it now, and 2 things in particular keep coming to the front.

The first is around what success actually means for me, and the second is around something that Anne called my Success Contract.

First let’s look at what Success really means.

The Collins English Dictionary defines success as follows:

1. the favourable outcome of something attempted
2. the attainment of wealth, fame, etc.
3. an action, performance, etc., that is characterized by success
4. a person or thing that is successful

…which is OK but quite wide. Anne wanted us to think about how we measure success for ourselves – what do we have to be doing, thinking, feeling etc for us to know that we are being successful? We had to come up with the answers to these 3 questions – what would your answers be?

  • How do I measure success for me?
  • What do I love?
  • What is important, precious and real?

Then she asked us to name the most successful person we could think of – and Chris Evans instantly popped into my mind because to me, he’s the absolute model of someone who knows himself, warts and all, has discovered humility and grace and is now grateful for all the good things in his life. He’s made mistakes and learned from them and doesn’t flinch from admitting to them – but he’s older, wiser and content now.

I think he’s a fantastic role-model of success, but who’s yours?

Now we get on to the Success Contract, and for me this was the high-point of the session. Anne introduced us to this concept with the idea that the Success Contract is something that we agreed with our ego way back and quite probably unconsciously.While it stays in our unconscious we may not be aware of it but we’ll be limiting the success we allow ourselves to ensure that it stays in line with this Contract. Far better then, to bring the Contract out into the open and check to see whether it’s fit for purpose.

And if it’s not, rip it up and write a new one!

Here are Anne’s questions and my instinctive answers – what would yours be?

  • What success am I allowed? Only what you can have without “showing off”
  • How much success do I deserve? Not a fat lot, you’re nothing special
  • How hard do I have to work to achieve success? Harder than you’ve ever worked in your whole life – success doesn’t come easy you know!
  • How much pain do I have to go through in order to be successful? There’s no success without sweat – you won’t appreciate it if you don’t have to work for it!
  • What will I have to pay to be successful? Peace of mind, security, sleep…
  • How much am I willing to sacrifice to have success? Um…
  • How perfect do I have to be in order to be successful? Well completely perfect, of course! But you’re not, so you never will be.
  • Do I have to do it all by myself in order for it to be a success? Yes! No…yes…no…maybe…

Blimey.

Do I need to tell you how much of a revelation that was? All that old conditioning, just sitting there waving at me, waiting for me to notice it.

So, was my Success Contract fit for purpose? Um……no.

Has it proven easy to write a newer, more positive one? Um……no, actually. I’m still working on that.

Here’s what I’d LIKE it to say:

  • What success am I allowed? Whatever comes my way
  • How much success do I deserve? As much as I want
  • How hard do I have to work to achieve success? As hard as I choose to
  • How much pain do I have to go through in order to be successful? Who says there has to be any pain involved?
  • What will I have to pay to be successful? Who says I have to pay?
  • How much am I willing to sacrifice to have success? Why do I have to sacrifice anything?
  • How perfect do I have to be in order to be successful? I don’t have to be perfect – all that I am is good enough
  • Do I have to do it all by myself in order for it to be a success? Of course not

I’m going to keep reminding myself that that’s what I’d LIKE it to say, until the time comes when I can believe that that’s what it DOES say – or until I find some even better answers.

How has your Success Contract been serving you or holding you back? And what would your ideal answers be?

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2 responses to “Defining Success

  1. Success only need defination when you are trying to find out who you really are. When you ‘get it’ life is effortless and success comes to you. You can tap for the doubt until you stop doubting naturally…!!!

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