Who is the most successful person in the United States?
Think about your answer.
Why did you choose this person?
Often times we associate being successful with making lots of money. While that maybe part of it and when given the choice, I would pick having money versus not having money every time, I would challenge you to get deeper than that. I know rich people who are miserable. You probably do too. They vacation to escape their stressful lives. I also know people with modest incomes who are extremely happy and successful.
So how do you define success?
Have you defined what success means to you? If you haven’t defined what success means to you, how do you know when you’ve achieved it?
My definition of success is about balance. As I’ve experienced one dimensional success (financial) yet felt very unfulfilled in other aspects of my life. This helped me take a step back to reassess things and I am much more successful now (by my own definition of success) than at any other time in my life.
Here is my blueprint for success:
- Sharing unconditional love & support: There is no greater gift than love. Whether it’s from a significant other, spouse, parent or friend, this is absolutely essential to happiness and success. We all need at least one person who will unconditionally support us in anything and everything we do. Do you have someone like this in your life? For me this person is my mother. Yes, I’m a mama’s boy. My mom has always been there for me and is my source of endless encouragement, unconditional love and inspiration. She would do anything for me and I would do anything for her. One cannot underestimate how much confidence and self-esteem unconditional love give us and I have often looked to my mom for inspiration to help me overcome courage points in my life.
GoodGreat friends: Who are your best friends? If you were stuck in a foreign jail, they would be your first phone call. Who comes to mind? These relationships are not built out of thin air but rather developed and invested in over time. If you don’t have any great friends, it’s probably because you are prioritizing other areas of your life. Like anything else worth doing building great relationships takes time but the rewards from my nine closest friends are extraordinary. I invest as much time as I can in these relationships as they account for a lot of the happiness and fulfillment in my life. Although some of my great friends live 1000s of miles away we have weekly phone calls to connect and develop our relationships every single week. These relationships are priceless. Remember. Quality > Quantity
- Health: Health is the one variable that levels the playing field for all of us. If you’ve got good mental and physical health, you’re a success in my book. Work on both every single day even if it’s just talking positively to yourself or doing a couple calf raises while you wait in line for a couple minutes. I remember when my grandmother got sick a couple years ago and I thought she was going to die. Sitting in the hospital room with her was a real wake up call for me, partially because no one close to me had ever died before and health is the one variable that totally levels the playing field. Fortunately, my grandma recovered from this scare and lived another couple years but this was a huge wake up call for me. Shortly after this incident with my grandmother, I gave up drinking for a year and now take much better care of my body and exercise my mind and body every single day. We only get one body to live in, treat it accordingly.
- Experiences: Experiences > Things. Life is a collection of experiences NOT things. Take a class, go volunteer, take a trip, attend a play, surprise someone with a random act of kindness, go for a walk. The frequency and depth of meaningful experiences is a huge factor in how I judge success. How many experiences in your life do you have to look forward to? Do something today to increase that number.
- Financial: While having money for the sake of having money is meaningless, money also means taking amazing vacations, paying for college, providing peace of mind for myself and my loved ones. Find what you love and the money will follow. It’s a cliche for a reason. It’s possible to be broke and successful (think Mother Teresa) so it’s not a precursor for being successful but worth mentioning on this list.
- Spirituality: Spirituality means something different to everyone. According to Psychologytoday.com spirituality is defined as follows: “For some, it’s about participating in organized religion: going to church, synagogue, a mosque, etc. For others, it’s more personal: Some people get in touch with their spiritual side through private prayer, yoga, meditation, quiet reflection, or even long walks.” As someone who grew up in a Catholic-Jewish household I grew up very open minded about religion. My spirituality is a journey I am still exploring and making room for in my life. Spirituality, however I define and practice it at the time, which is ever evolving has been an integral part of my personal growth, happiness and success over the last couple years. I’m a huge fan of both yoga and meditation.
- Service: No one can be a success without serving others and making the world a better place in some way. The quickest way to feel better about ourselves is to do something nice for someone else. The rewards from volunteering are evident in the gratitude from the people being helped however often overlooked is the tremendous feeling one receives from helping someone else. If you think times are tough, go volunteer and serve those less fortunate than yourself to change your perspective. Things could always be worse. The feeling you get after volunteering is one of the best feelings in the world and will make you feel like a success.
- Traditions: I absolutely love traditions! They not only give us things to look forward to but allow us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. A few of my favorite traditions: Taco Tuesdays, visiting a friend’s cabin every 4th of July, guys weekend with my dad and brothers every summer, an outdoor trip with friends every May and weekly phone calls with my best friends and personal board of directors How many traditions do you have in your life? Why not start a new one?
- Freedom: Getting to spend each day as we choose in a way that we find meaning. I am grateful to be able to do what I want when I want. The thing I’ve realized is this is not based on the size of my bank account as this “freedom” started after losing all my money and realizing my success was not tied to things, but rather to experiences, relationships and feelings. If you feel tied down, get rid of things and people in your life who bog you down.
- Waking up happy and excited about the day ahead – every day: How did you feel this morning when you woke up? To paraphrase Steve Jobs, if we wake up too many days in a row and we’re not happy or excited about the day ahead it’s time to make a change. Life is like a choose your own adventure book, it’s up to us which direction it goes. By incorporating #s 1-9 along with daily success habits (like gratitude journaling, visualization, positive affirmations…etc), I wake up happy every single day. To me that is success. And it’s not because I’m a multimillionaire or “bad things” don’t happen to me. I have setbacks and make mistakes every single day. It’s all what we make of them. If you are happy with your life, that is success!
Make sure you are living your purpose and creating happiness and a successful life for yourself and those around you and it doesn’t hurt to do it with a smile on your face. I hope this post helps you remember the reasons you do what you do and realize that you alone determine what happiness and success are.
Thanks for stopping by to read my blog this week. Until next week, stay positive and keep learning!
What does success mean to you? Leave a comment below I would love to hear from you!!