Prioritize YOUR purpose! I spent most of my life hustling for other people’s dreams. I never took a moment to prioritize what was most important and practical in my life. When the pandemic hit, I was forced to look at my needs and wants on a deeper level. I paid more attention to my must-haves and the importance of time-flexibility, working from home, and creating more stability and prosperity in life. Prioritizing my purpose has become my number one way to redefine success.

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 Kristin LeeAnn.

Kristin LeeAnn is a single mother of two, Empowerment and Prosperity Coach, Entrepreneur, Speaker, and Mental Health Advocate. In her coaching business, Kristin LeeAnn, LLC, Kristin empowers ambitious women to discover their life purpose so they can unlock a life of stability and prosperity.

Prior to becoming a Certified Life Coach and Entrepreneur, Kristin spent almost a decade establishing herself as a professional in mental health and public service to empower those she served, to transform their lives and push past their limiting beliefs.

As a Certified Life Coach and Mental Health Expert, she helps her clients dig deep, using her signature PROSPER Method, to discover their true purpose so they can experience fulfillment doing the work that they love. She is passionate about helping ambitious women who feel burnout and misaligned in their careers, but lack the clarity and know how to create their ideal life.

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?

Absolutely! I’ve had so many life experiences that have shaped me into who I am today, but the top two experiences have been becoming a single, teen-mom and the passing of my significant other.

I became a single mother to my son at 18 and my daughter at 22. Regardless of having two children, I juggled going to college and working an overnight, part-time job, while I was working on my Bachelor’s and Master’s. I had big goals that I was determined to pursue, no matter what it took! A lot of people thought I was crazy, but my lack of financial stability made me strive harder to be able to provide a stable life for my babies. I also wanted to set an example for others that anything is possible.

The passing of my significant other taught me that life’s challenges are always worth pushing through. Getting through the toughest time in my life proved that no matter what comes my way, I am capable of overcoming any obstacle to keep walking in my purpose. Losing somebody so close to me also showed me that every second is not promised, so if you’re a person with amazing dreams and goals, don’t wait until the perfect time to take action. The perfect time may never come, especially if you’re a perfectionist.

We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?

Growing up, I was led to believe that being successful meant I had to work downtown for 40+ hours a week, have a prominent title at a well-known employer, make six-figures, drive a fancy car, and live in an expensive home in an affluent neighborhood. I also believed that I had to have the highest level of education from the best schools, and when I had kids, they had to go to private school or a school in a “better” district. I truly believed that if I didn’t do, or have, all of these things, I was a failure regardless of my achievements.

How has your definition of success changed?

My definition of success has changed drastically and I’ve realized that I don’t have to give in to what people around me consider success. I’ve learned to appreciate where I’m at in life and experience genuine joy regardless of what my career is, where I’m at financially, where I live, and what car I drive. While expensive things are nice to have once you can afford them, they don’t define success while we’re in the process of achieving our goals. I’ve learned to feel successful about where I’m going in my life, and not focus too much on the ups and downs on my journey to get there. My new definition of success is walking in my purpose, doing the work that I love, and having more freedom with the way I spend my time.

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?

I strongly believe that society needs to be more accepting of the fact that so many people have experienced growth, which has caused our personal, and career, needs to change. I have personally received criticism for needing to put my children first, and pivot from working full-time, to becoming a full-time entrepreneur. Prior to the pandemic, our society was programmed to always be on the go. Now we’re seeing people really understand the importance of slowing down and prioritizing what matters most. Mental health, time flexibility, increased pay, and work from home options are even more important than before, because of the constantly increasing living cost, rising covid illnesses, and the lack of stable childcare when quarantines are needed. To access success after the pandemic, our society has to do a better job at encouraging others to prioritize their well-being and their loved ones, by fighting for the financial resources to do so. Society needs to stop glorifying overworking ourselves and looking down on others when there’s no way they can wear all the hats that life demands.

What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.

Right when the pandemic was unraveling, I was working a job that caused me to experience major burnout and feelings of unalignment in my life. I was hustling for the American dream in a way that didn’t bring me joy, stability, or financial success. I ended up leaving my job and decided to look for a career that aligned with my values, dreams, and goals. What I ended up experiencing were rejection letters from just about every job that I applied to. I truly learned to appreciate the saying, “Rejection is God’s protection”.

Constantly being rejected, and not getting called for interviews, forced me to focus on building my own career so I could do meaningful work, create my own income goals, be my own boss, and have the time flexibility I needed to be at home with my children during their e-learning.

Before I left my job, I was already in the process of starting a business, but the unemployment rates during the pandemic gave me the push that I needed to jump in full-time for quicker results. Because of the pandemic, I had the opportunity to focus on working towards the stability and prosperity that my children and I need.

During the pandemic, I was able to really take time to reset and discover what brought me joy. When the stay at home order was put in place, I didn’t have all of the distractions or demands that I had to keep up with before the lockdown. This allowed me to use the time I had to dig deep and discover my purpose. I also learned myself on a different level by prioritizing my mind, body, and soul.

I was able to take the time that I needed to be at home and recover from burnout, by practicing self-care to start becoming the best version of myself. I was able to get the rest that I needed, spend more time with my immediate family, read the books that were on my list, grow my mindset, and create new traditions. When I lost my significant other, I was able to focus on the grieving process, without being forced to jump back into work before I was ready.

We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?” (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Prioritize YOUR purpose! I spent most of my life hustling for other people’s dreams. I never took a moment to prioritize what was most important and practical in my life. When the pandemic hit, I was forced to look at my needs and wants on a deeper level. I paid more attention to my must-haves and the importance of time-flexibility, working from home, and creating more stability and prosperity in life. Prioritizing my purpose has become my number one way to redefine success.
  2. Rewire your mindset. Earlier I shared the myths and misconceptions about the definition of success that I used to believe and those beliefs were deeply ingrained in me. As I struggled to establish myself as a professional, because I was working jobs that didn’t align with my life, I didn’t feel like I was on the path to success. As I worked to discover how to be successful, I learned that I had to rewire my mindset to believe in my new definition of success. As I started rewiring my mindset, I started to experience success.
  3. Set new goals that align with the life you’re trying to create. Sometimes we have our childhood goals and dreams so deep in us, that we feel like a failure if we pivot our plans. As our lives constantly change and unexpected obstacles develop, we need to know that it’s perfectly ok if our goals change. There’s been plenty of times that I’ve personally had to take a moment in my life to reevaluate, adapt, and set new goals.
  4. Take bite sized steps. Most of the time, we like to take on all of the things to chase the common definition of success and we pride ourselves on being multi-taskers. Then we end up left wondering why we feel unhappy and burnout trying to reach our goals. For many years, I wanted to work more hours, move up the career ladder quickly, put my children in every activity, and get the next degree I could immediately. I always experienced burnout, and I actually believed these feelings were normal if I wanted to be successful. I was always biting off more than I could chew, and doing all of the things at once, instead of pacing myself. I have learned to listen to my mind and body and take time off when I need to. I’ve also learned the importance of not feeling guilty, or like a failure, if I’m not doing a million things at once.
  5. Celebrate YOUR wins! If no one else celebrates you, always remember to be your own biggest fan. Every goal you achieve is a step toward your big goals. If you make it a habit to celebrate your big and small wins along the way, you will gain momentum by seeing all that you have accomplished. Losing sight of how important even bite-sized wins are, can make you feel like you have less momentum and like you aren’t making progress. I used to spend a lot of time forgetting to celebrate my smaller wins, because others didn’t consider them as big as I did. I’m so glad that I’ve learned to celebrate myself, even when no one else does, because my success seems a lot closer than when I didn’t.

How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?

There are so many ways that our lives would improve if we changed our definition of success. I would have to say the biggest improvement would be our mental health. So many people experience depression and anxiety, because of society’s most common definition of success. If more of us changed our definition of success, we would likely stop being so hard on ourselves when we haven’t reached the level of success we are striving for. We would also gracefully experience success at every stage of our lives, and stop comparing our success to the success of other people.

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 our redefined success, is the pressure and misunderstanding of those closest to us, when our definition of success has shifted away from their beliefs. My first piece of advice would be to remember a time when you were passionate about something that others didn’t agree with, but you followed your heart and experienced a positive outcome. Another piece of advice would be to imagine that everyone agrees with you, how would you feel about pursuing your redefined success then? If you would feel more confident if people were on board, keep the same confidence even if they aren’t.

Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?

My go to places for inspiration are always self-help podcasts, books, magazines, and positive music.

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 would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with Oprah. For as long as I could remember, I have admired Oprah because of her journey as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political force. Most importantly, I have always admired her resiliency throughout her childhood and career. She set an example for me while I was growing up, and inspired me to strive to walk in my purpose, so that I can also bring good to people in need around the world.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

My work can be followed by joining my FREE Facebook Group, The Prosperholic Café. I can also be followed on LinkedIn and Instagram.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.