Stephanie is in her early fifties. She has been a business consultant for 20 years and worked her way up from a junior associate to become one of the few women partners in her company. She lives a comfortable life and no longer needs to pull frequent all-nighters to stay on top of her work. Though considered successful by most people, she is a bit lost as to her next step. Driven by a strong desire for success and the responsibility for taking care of her family, she never entertained the possibilities of other options for her career.
Knowing what success means to you will help you find greater meaning and clear the path for your next venture. Here, we share three pillars to help you define success for yourself from business author and motivational speaker Lei Wang.
1. Make every achievement personal and measure success against your own effort rather than any external comparison. If you rely on external comparison to validate your sense of success, you may obscure your own perception by comparing yourself to people who are less or more “successful” than you.
Every person has a different starting point and different talents. So, your success can only be judged against your own effort. What matters is not where you start from, or where you are today, but how hard you are working and how fast you are making progress. Instead of resorting to external comparisons, compare where you are today versus where you were yesterday. Keep an eye on where you want to be tomorrow, and constantly make your best effort day after day. Soon you will be surprised to find out how far you’ve come.
2. The energy and motivation that a challenge inspires in you will make it easier to reach the summit of your career. Be sure not to overachieve at the expense of being able to sustain yourself mentally and physically for the next challenge.
You may find yourself at a critical junction and believe that taking a break means failure. But remember: your ultimate goal, your ultimate success, is much further than the goal in front of you. What can you do to prepare yourself for the long-haul to success? What can you do today to be better prepared when you face another critical moment tomorrow? By taking care of some important—but not yet urgent—issues today, you can avoid an urgent problem in the future. In business, that’s what risk management is for; in your daily life, that’s what learning and taking care of your health and your relationships is for.
3. Success is a journey of constant searching and reconnecting with purpose. Any achievement, no matter how significant it may be, is just a point on this journey, with many opportunities for success—but you need a target.
Common targets include reaching a certain number in revenue, scoring a certain position in an organization or attaining a certain rank in your profession. However, understand that each of those goals is just a point on your journey to success. The points themselves are not the ultimate success you are pursuing. Just like the measurement of success comes from within, the goal also needs to connect to something within yourself.
The most important question is why. Why are you in this business? What does reaching those goals mean to you and your family? What is the ultimate “goal” you are trying to reach beyond those “points”?
You must dig deeper to understand your internal drivers. Once you know the purpose you are serving or pursuing, it will be easier to see how those points on your journey connect and where you are heading. Let your purpose be the guide posts on your journey. With purpose, you will never feel lost because you know where you are heading.
Source: Lei Wang is an internationally-recognized adventurer, motivational speaker and author ofAfter the Summit: New Rules for Reaching Your Peak Potential in Your Career and Life . The first Asian woman to complete the Explorers Grand Slam (climbing the highest peak on each continent and skiing to both poles), Wang channels her experiences to convey a message of perseverance and steadfast determination that her audiences can use at work or at home.
Compiled by Cassandra Johnson