What is your definition of success?
If you’re anything like me…
If you’re an accomplisher…
If you’re a high achiever…
Then you thrive on challenges and getting results. By the time I was 24, I was a successful financial advisor and, shortly after that, became my company’s youngest branch manager. My life was the adventure of constantly attaining higher goals and making more money than the men in my field.
Like a horse with blinders, I was completely focused on what was ahead, what I could get done, and the next milestone to conquer so I could receive the attention I craved. With each new achievement came another surge of adrenaline, my mind sent out signals of gratification, triggering dopamine sensors, and encouraging happiness.
Yet the recognition and the highs were short-lived, so I constantly needed another “success” fix. Because each new accomplishment rewarded me with the feeling of success and, therefore, happiness. However, the relationship between success and happiness is more complicated than merely an action gratified by a feeling.
Is your happiness driven by an ongoing series of one-time successes?
If the foundation of your happiness is ongoing achievement, it may be time to delve into what will bring you long-lasting happiness.
There are three basic types of happiness: pleasure, passion, and purpose. Pleasure gives you an instant reward such as a tasty meal or a great song. Although pleasure is important to your well-being, it doesn’t provide long-term joy. Passion comes from being part of something you love – creating art, participating in a group activity, or enjoying your favorite sport – and can bring more consistent joy. The third type of happiness is purpose. To have a purpose is to find greater meaning in your existence. This can evoke a deep sense of fulfillment and an innate feeling of joy.
When happiness is based on the rush of excitement from accomplishment, it provides pleasure yet not necessarily passion or purpose. When that moment of happiness is over, you must move on to the next accomplishment, then the next after that to continue to feel happiness. There are more effective and longer lasting ways to find happiness. When you expand beyond the inclination to check boxes, a deeper and more meaningful sense of happiness will emerge.
As you redefine what success means for you, incorporate all three types of happiness into your journey. Pleasure may be the only type of happiness gained from what you currently consider “success”. When you shift your definition of success to include passion and purpose, you will possess a roadmap to true happiness.
Evoke passion and purpose in your life by redefining your idea of success.
Step #1 – Categorize
Separate your life into categories. I consider the foundational Fs: faith, family, friendships, finance, fitness, fulfillment, and fun. Choose those that are most predominant in your life or use them all. You may even find that as you look at these categories, there’s some overlap.
Eating habits, exercise, and care for your mind and body.
How you earn and manage your money.
How you manage your relationships.
How you support and care for your spirit.
Step #2 – Create new goals
Create new goals for these categories that include passion and purpose.
This could look like:
Joining a sports team or group activity with friends or coworkers. Being part of a group will ignite passion towards your health goals.
Pursuing additional education and expanding your expertise to get a raise, a promotion, or to become an entrepreneur doing something you truly love and with greater purpose.
Putting more energy into deepening your relationships allows you to experience greater passion and supports your emotional needs.
As you redefine your goals to include passion and purpose, your idea of success may change form. This shift in perspective can provide you with a roadmap to happiness. However, redefining success may not necessarily be a smooth ride. Whenever you make changes, it’s not unusual to experience challenges or setbacks.
As you define your new meaning for success you may notice…
Look at obstacles as opportunities to grow and build upon your passion for change.
Redefining what success means to you may lead down a road with twists and turns. It may mean a shifting in direction to explore different areas and try new ideas before one feels right.
Comparison or judgment
Just because someone else appears happy in their success doesn’t mean you’ll be happy with what they have. Stay focused on yourself without judgment and release the desire to compare your journey with others.
Success looks different to each individual. What matters most is that your definition of success brings you joy. As you uplevel your goals to include passion and purpose, your idea of success may change form and provide your roadmap to true happiness. To receive my top 8 strategies for increasing your happiness, click here for my new Tip Sheet: 8 Simple Strategies for Greater Passion And Purpose.