Know what you need. When you know who you are, it’s so much easier to determine what it is you need. When you know what you need, you can put in place steps to make sure you give it to yourself as often as you. Knowing what you need also makes it easier to ignore the distractions that show up, trying to tempt you off your pathway.
Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.
As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Bronwen Sciortino.
Bronwen Sciortino is an International Author and Simplicity Expert who spent almost two decades as an award-winning executive before experiencing a life changing event that forced her to stop and ask the question ‘What if there’s a better way to live?’
Embarking on a journey to answer this question, Bronwen developed a way of living that allows you to create a tailor-made life that is perfect just for you.
Gaining international critical acclaim and 5-star awards for her books and programs, Bronwen spends every day teaching people that there is an easy, practical and simple pathway to creating a healthy, happy AND highly successful life.
Sourced globally for media comment as an expert and working with corporate programs, conference platforms, retreats, professional mentoring and in the online environment, Bronwen teaches people how easy it is to live life in a very different way.
Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?
Our life experiences are some of the most precious gifts.
By far, the experience that has shaped my life the most was pushing myself to point that my life completely shattered around me. I was a perfectionist, and like so many others around the world, I was locked in a mindset of trying to prove my worth and give everything to everyone around me. You can sustain this for a while but as I learned, at some point you will always have to ‘pay the piper’ … and the longer you leave it, the more expensive the bill when it comes due for payment.
My second life experience that shaped me the most was the recovery process from breaking. When you break to the point that I did, you’re left in a place where you have nothing you’re responsible for, no one relying on you for anything, no projects to deliver and no time constraints. You have one thing to focus on — yourself … and you have all the time in the world to focus on it. The process of putting myself back together is easily the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It was confronting, overwhelming, exhausting and liberating. It’s not until you learn how to put ALL your options back on the table, and pick the things you want and piece them together in the way that works for you, that you understand what true freedom in your life feels like.
We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?
I used to believe that to be successful, you had to be seen by the right people to be doing the right things at the right time. Moreover, you had to do it in a way that didn’t ‘big note’ yourself, make a fuss or create any waves. You had to always have your ‘ducks in a row’, have everything under control and be able to solve everyone’s problems with the click of your fingers. It must at all times seem effortless, so that you would always be the ‘go-to’ person. If you weren’t seen to be working hard, then you couldn’t possibly be successful.
Then, and only then, could someone tap you on the shoulder and elevate you in the success stakes.
It seems ridiculous when written on the page, but that’s how I had set up success. It made it absolutely impossible to achieve, but that just drove me harder because the last thing I wanted (particularly as a perfectionist) was to be seen to be failing.
Perhaps the biggest misconception about success is that it is achieved by chasing the “you have to’s”, the “you should’s” and the “you need to’s” that are given to us by other people.
There is no definition of success, but we’re all chasing it, trying to have it. If we don’t know what it is, how can we possible achieve it?
And if we do try and define it, we often (if not always) use a definition that’s been given to us by other people which very rarely matches who we are, what we need, or even want in life.
How has your definition of success changed?
A few years ago, I decided to remove the words ‘success’ and ‘failure’ from my dictionary. For me, these words no longer exist.
I believe that our lives have been ruled by whether we are seen to be a success or a failure, and we’ve chosen our next steps based on what we think others will say about our actions.
Have you ever noticed how you behave when you’re on holidays?
You’re more relaxed, you’re more likely to try new foods, new places and new experiences and you ebb and flow with the things you like and the experiences that you had fun doing. You return to work with a different mindset, a different energy and ready to take on the world again. I put all of this down to a willingness to go on adventures and explore new surroundings.
I’ve followed the old, outdated thinking model of success … and it brought me to my knees. Now, I choose to create my own definition of success.
For me, embracing a ‘holiday’ mindset and bringing it into everyday life has meant that I’ve been able to bring more of the things that are effortless and fun into every single day.
The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic?
The early stages of the pandemic were often described as ‘The Great Pause’, but the longer the pandemic went on, the more people chafed at the bit to return to life as ‘normal’.
But ‘normal’ wasn’t working … why would we all want to go back there?
More than anything, I think we’re seeing people realise that they no longer want to live with chronic stress and exhaustion. We only have to look at ‘The Great Resignation’ to see just how many people want some reprieve and simplicity in their lives.
But … simply moving to another job won’t be the solution that people think it will. The grass is very rarely greener on the other side, unless you’ve done some work on yourself to determine what it is YOU want and need.
Right now, we have a rare window in time when there is an opportunity for everyone to take control of their own lives and tailor-make the solution that is perfect, just for them.
If you truly want to be successful, you need to put down the smart devices, stop listening to what other people are declaiming is right for you and spend some time defining what success looks like for you before creating the steps you need to get you there.
Now, more than ever before, it is simple, easy and affordable to create the life you really want, and to have the success you’ve always dreamed of. But … you’ve got to be prepared to do what’s right for you. Be brave enough to get to know yourself and courageous enough to give yourself what you need.
Small, simple steps is all it takes to significantly move your life in a different way.
What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.
One of the things I heard a lot when I was recovering from my breakdown was that it was OK for me to do things differently because I’d suffered a traumatic event.
It’s like I was being given permission to change because normal life had broken me, and I had to do things differently. What wasn’t said, though, was that people believe that without the traumatic event, they’re stuck with living life ‘normally’.
The pandemic gave us an opportunity to re-shape and re-set our lives. Traumatic events always offer us an opportunity to review ourselves and our lives, and to find ways that we can do things differently (or not at all anymore).
It also gave every business in the world the impetus to redefine their products and services and get themselves into the online selling space. This opened up the world to suppliers, but also opened up the world to consumers. There are so many options available now, whether it be through products, services, or information.
So many people experienced epiphanies about themselves and their lives: what they want and don’t want, and what they are and aren’t prepared to do anymore. And with the host of information at their fingertips in the online space, there are now so many more options than ever before to help them move in a different direction.
We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?”
To fully take advantage of all that the pandemic has provided for us, here are 5 ways to redefine success so you can move forwards in a different way:
- Know who you are. Most of us have been shaped so strongly in our formative years — and we’ve spent decades molding ourselves into the version that we think will be most accepted by the world — that we’ve forgotten who we truly are. It’s no wonder we spend so much time chasing after all the things everyone else tells us we need to do to be successful. When you know who you are, you have a greater understanding of the things you need to move you forwards in an aligned way.
- Know what you need. When you know who you are, it’s so much easier to determine what it is you need. When you know what you need, you can put in place steps to make sure you give it to yourself as often as you. Knowing what you need also makes it easier to ignore the distractions that show up, trying to tempt you off your pathway.
- Get rid of the word ‘success’. The word ‘success’ can be a massive stumbling block in life. It can drive us to push ourselves too hard trying to achieve something in a way that’s impossible. Or, it can freeze us in place, forcing us to be stuck living a life that’s working against us rather than for us. If you get rid of the word success, and instead allow yourself to employ a mindset of adventure and explore, you can create a more relaxed, lower-stress style of life that supports what you’re trying to achieve.
- Be kind to yourself. With the highly visible life we now lead, it’s easy to get caught up in comparing and judging ourselves against others. But it’s imperative to remember that when we compare someone else’s virtual world with our physical life, we will always find ourselves lacking. Life is full of ebbs and flows, ups and downs, challenges and periods of effortless bliss. The kinder you can be to yourself, now matter what is going on for you, the easier you will find it to take every step along the way. Be at least as kind to yourself as you would be to others, and you’ll find the world a much easier place to be.
- Enjoy the ride. Life can be so simple and enjoyable … when we let it. We’ve all heard the saying ‘life wasn’t meant to be easy’, but what if it was? Find your inner rebel and let it loose once in a while! It’s your wild child side that will help you find the fun and laughter and take you towards the things that make you smile. There’s no rule written anywhere that says that you can only be successful if you’re miserable, overworked and chronically stressed for a long period of time first. So, change the rules, challenge the status quo and find the pathway that lets you have fun.
How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?
Our lives can’t help but improve when we’ve created our own definition of success and we take small, simple and easily implemented steps towards achieving it every day.
There is nothing more empowering than knowing who you are and what you need and then giving it to yourself, every single day.
What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?
The biggest obstacle that stands in the way of redefined success is the social conditioning that tells us who we should be, what we need and what we have to do to be successful.
As long as we are engaged in doing the ‘right’ things, having the ‘right, qualifications, living in the ‘right’ place, working for the ‘right’ company, wearing the ‘right’ clothes — and the list goes on! — we’ll find ourselves living the life that someone else thinks is perfect for us.
We’ll be stressed, exhausted and on a fast track to a collision course with ill health — both physically and mentally.
My strongest piece of advice is to always remember who you are and take all of your steps in the direction of the things that make your heart sing. Find the things, people, places and activities that give you energy and make you laugh, then give them to yourself regularly (daily if you can). If you’re moving your life in the direction of these things, you’ll be working your way towards your definition of success.
Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?
The first place I go to look for inspiration about how to redefine success is myself. No one knows you better than you do. No one knows what you need more than you do. As soon as you look to others, you’ll find yourself off your path.
Get curious about the things you see around you. Wonder whether they might be right for you. But, always consciously choose what it is you want to be doing and understand why it is the right thing for you to be trying. The more you consciously connect with the choices you make for your life, the more aligned your life will become to the outcomes you want to achieve.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.
I owe her an apology!
Her TEDx talk opened my eyes to an unconscious bias I was carrying. It taught me a lot about how we form our thoughts on auto-pilot and assign blame in situations we know nothing about.
We may be ‘just one individual’, and we may be entitled to our opinion, but we are also responsible for the consequences that openly airing our opinion may bring.
It’s not good enough to say our piece, and then walk away from any destruction that is caused. It’s not enough to wash our hands and hide behind a statement of ‘they live their life in the public domain … they should be used to it’.
We are responsible for our words. We are responsible for what we do with them. We are responsible for the wounds that they can cause.
I grew up with the phrase ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me’ resonating throughout my childhood. Perhaps such a statement may have been relevant when the worst public punishment was a few hours in the stockade. But the world we live in now provides platforms for words to be weaponised.
There are too many people being severely wounded because words can follow them everywhere and invade every corner of their world now. There are too many lives being lost — and far too young — because opinions aren’t consciously created and words are flung without any thought.
And worse, those words live on in the digital domain forever. Words flung at one another on the school playground or in the workplace before the advent of social media are mostly forgotten to history … but not anymore. They persist, and they emerge and reverberate over and over again as someone’s weapon of choice.
Monica taught me that the way I was allowing my opinions to be formed wasn’t in alignment with who I AM as a person. Because of her, I learned to consciously form my opinions and to be very careful — and respectful — with the way that they are shared with the world.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I spend a lot of time in the online space and am frequently sought as an expert for media across all channels. I share a lot of my work through my online platforms that readers can access by connecting with me:
Website Link: https://www.sheiqlife.com/
Free Email Series: https://www.sheiqlife.com/7-steps-email-series/
I also have an online program to assist busy professional women reduce stress and beat burnout that can be accessed here: https://sheiqlife.com/kiss-fbpw/
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.