Your success is dependent on your own belief and feeling of self-satisfaction, not external validation from others. Read this back to yourself the next time you start doubting and questioning all the sources from which you derive your sense of accomplishment. Unless you’re in a direct 1:1 competition where a clear winner and loser is decided, let your success be by your own definition.

The way it’s supposed to be.

So many of us have it twisted. We need to feel validated from others. We want the bestselling book because it will mean that others will sing our praises. We want the tweet that gets 50,000 retweets, not because it necessarily means something to us, but because it means others observed our idea, thought random musing. Which may not matter much at all if it doesn’t tie back to what matters most to us.

It’s not about the cars, the bling or whether Sheryl Sandberg “liked” our latest post about changing the world. Do those things matter? Sure. But they truly pale in comparison to our commitment to following a plan that will bring peace, joy, success and true meaning to our lives. Go for the “dream job” that you think is “above your pay-grade,” not because you think your parents or boyfriend will care more, but because it will be the stepping-stone that launches your next big goal.

View the external validation purely as icing on the cake or a luxury. It’s supplementary. It makes us feel better, but it should not be what makes us truly feel good. It adds to our feeling of self-worth. It helps us, but should never be a feeling that legitimizes us. Our own thoughts, our own ideas, accomplishments and actions should do that.

External validation adds to growing voices believing in what you’re doing and honoring it. But it doesn’t define you. If you’re looking to grow your brand, increase your prospects for new clients, sell an idea or heck, just get started in your career, you have to stay true to yourself by starting with a plan. Your plan should have a definition of success, success measures and goals that support what success means to you.

Praises and the Inner-Knowledge

Build on values — you’ll find no bigger proponent of this than I, namely because my entire foundation was built on core values. The reason I’m able to succeed and run a business today is because I chose my values and always have these to stabilize me, in good times and in bad. Values are there for us when the going gets really rough, and when we’re riding high.

Last week, Arianna Huffington shared one of my articles on her Linked in page. It reached literally hundreds of thousands of people. She reached out to thank me for writing such a wonderful piece and complimented me on my work. She wanted to know if we could collaborate in the future on something really great.

I was on cloud-nine, as any one of us would be when hearing from one of the world’s most successful people. It felt great. But as weird as this sounds, this “reward” or external validation truly does pale in comparison of committing to a goal, building a plan to achieve it and immersing yourself in the experience to the maximum-degree.

Maximum output with joy in your heart multiplied by the true completion of the exact objective you set out to accomplish. That is true victory.

I bring up that example because, yes, it did mean something to me. It made me smile, and it helped give me more exposure as a writer. But like you, I know that if I want to stay true to myself and continue building on my strong foundation, I have to keep going and focus on the journey. Not the trophies, so to speak.

True success comes from the inside. It’s born from great opportunity which is only recognized and conquered once we are truly prepared for it. Once we’re ready for it. And guess what? I think we’re a lot more ready for the biggest opportunities and success moments in our lives than we may realize. Focus on the moment. Focus on what success honestly means to you. Take the time to speak it out loud and write it down.

Once you do, the world is yours. It starts from within. Give it life.

Succeed on Your Terms!

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