Find success in the present moment.

Instead of seeing success as a goal for the future, find success right NOW in the present moment. Success is a journey, not a destination.

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 Veerle Beelen Da Costa David.

Veerle Beelen Da Costa David is a certified Travel and Life Coach for expats, digital nomads, and travelers. Trained in coaching, NLP, Reiki, and meditation, Veerle provides a holistic approach for mind, body, and soul. She helps her clients reinvent themselves, create a freedom-based lifestyle, and find home within, anywhere in the world. Besides her coaching programs, she organizes (online) community events, masterclasses and workshops for individuals and companies.

Veerle is an honouree of the Brainz Crea Global Award 2021, a Global Ambassador for the Travel Coach Network, a local host for Mindvalley, and a Happiness Ambassador and Founding Member of the School of Happiness. She has appeared in numerous online magazines and podcasts such as Thrive Global, Authority Magazine, LifeLoversMag and The Solo Female Traveler.

She has lived in Spain, Cambodia, and Australia, and is currently based in the Netherlands.

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?

The life experiences that have most shaped me and have helped me become the person I am today, are most of all related to my travels and experiences living in different places around the world. Moving somewhere new during different phases of my life has opened my mind and my heart to new possibilities but also created a higher awareness and sense of self within me. When you try to start a new life on the other side of the world where you don’t know anyone at first, you really have to rely on yourself to make it a success. Besides that, there are a lot of challenges that you have to navigate through when moving somewhere new, whether it’s adjusting to a new culture or language, finding your way in a new city or meeting new people… literally everything is new! This has always been an exciting journey for me and through these challenges and adventures I got to know myself much better. Outside of your usual environment you have the chance to reevaluate what is important to you and who is the person that you want to be. I also experienced this the hard way when I had to move from Australia to the Netherlands during the pandemic. Even though the Netherlands is the country in which I was born and raised, I did not feel at home and was dealing with reverse culture shock. After a while I found my footing again and realized that feeling at home is not based on the place I’m at or the people I am surrounded by but that it starts within myself. This realization and process of self-discovery inspired me to do things differently in my life. I decided to get certified as a coach and start my own business, which allows me to empower others and guide them in their own personal journey of finding home within while travelling or transitioning into another country.

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

For many years I was ‘programmed’ into what seems to be the standard definition of success in society. This led me to obtaining a Masters Law degree and a shiny corporate career as an Immigration lawyer in which I worked very hard and got rewarded with yearly promotions. Even though there were parts of this journey that I really enjoyed and that felt like success to me, I was always looking for the next step, the next milestone, the next raise and there was never a moment that it seemed to be enough. However, since this was the way of living and working that I saw all around me, I didn’t realize that there was another form of success. So I just kept pushing myself towards the next thing and chasing happiness for the future. Until certain moments in my life made me question what I was doing all of this for and whether this was really the way I wanted to live. I wondered if this was really the type of success that I wanted to have or if success could also have a different meaning, form or shape in my life.

How has your definition of success changed?

When I lost my job and visa in Australia during the pandemic and unexpectedly moved back to the Netherlands, my life was put on hold for a moment. After years of moving places and working non-stop, from one goal to another, I suddenly had the time to re-evaluate everything in my life and with that, re-define what success meant to me. From that moment my definition of success has changed in the sense that I was no longer chasing for things outside of myself, but started to base success on everything that was connected to me and that I could find within myself. Success for me now means living a life with purpose, doing work that doesn’t feel like work at all, living in my most authentic way, from a place of love and connection. I stopped chasing things in the future but learned how to be more present and to enjoy the little things in life. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have any goals and dreams for the future anymore, of course!, but ‘success’ is not one of them. In other words, success is not a goal in itself for me anymore but it is a feeling, like happiness. It is not something I chase but that I can find every day. I discovered that success can be in the tiniest things in daily life if you let yourself re-define what success means to you.

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 changes I would like to see in society when it comes to success are related to what I just mentioned. It is time that we accept that everyone has their own vision of success. This means that people have the freedom to start discovering what success really means to them, without feeling the pressure of the people around them of what success should look like in the traditional sense of the word (chasing money or materialistic things like a house or car). If you take a broader perspective on success, it is very much related to happiness. What if you measured your success in a different way, for example based on how much you laughed today, dedicated on self-care, or how much time you spent with your loved ones? It’s a personal journey and it’s not something to postpone towards the future as a destination, but something we should be aware of every day. It cannot be found in external factors, but inside of ourselves.

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

The time for collective self-reflection was definitely one of the positives in the pandemic. More people realized that the way they had been living and working did not truly make them happy. When everything around us stopped, our lives were put on hold and we had time to calm down, we had the chance to think about our lives, the person we want to be and what we would like the world to look like.

For me personally, it gave me the opportunity to make a career switch and start my business to create a more freedom-based lifestyle. Many others followed this path as well given the fact that the amount of digital nomads and remote workers continues to increase even after the pandemic is over. A new way of working and living has been introduced and will be here to stay for the future. I see this as a positive outcome of the pandemic as well, because it allows people, again, to reassess what is important to them and create a lifestyle that matches that. Whether they want to spend more time at home with their family or take remote working as an opportunity to travel the world.

We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?”

  1. Ask yourself what success means to you.

This is really the starting point for everyone. Once you know what success looks like to you, you can find a way to welcome it in your life.

2. Find success in the present moment

Instead of seeing success as a goal for the future, find success right NOW in the present moment. Success is a journey, not a destination.

3. Define what your markers of success are and live by those.

Change your perspective of what makes you feel successful and define the markers of success that help you live your life with intention every day. Is it how much time you spent with your loved ones? Having a daily self-care moment? Feeling loved or inspired? Waking up with a purpose every day?

4. Get inspired and empowered by other people’s definition of success.

Look at the stories of people that you find successful and ask yourself why they are successful in your eyes. Use that as inspiration and empowerment for your own life.

5. Be brave enough to follow your own path of success.

Since you can redefine your own definition of success, it’s up to you to make it happen and to have the courage to step out of the familiar and create your own success story.

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

I believe that people could contribute more to the world and become happier beings once they can define their own version of success. So for me this would mostly be an invitation for people to consider how they can live their life with purpose and intention, including a job and a lifestyle they truly enjoy, and to find out what sparks joy in their life.

What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?

Fear of failure, which is often seen as the opposite of success. When you’re afraid to fail this can stop you from taking action and keeps you stuck in what’s familiar to you, even if that doesn’t make you happy. To overcome this obstacle you can change how you perceive failure. If you see failure as feedback and as a re-direction of where you’re supposed to go, you take the negativity out of it. When you realize that it’s okay to fail and that it’s impossible to avoid failure when you’re growing and doing new things, you can see it as a learning moment in your journey instead of as an obstacle.

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

I love to learn from people who are a few steps ahead of me and to feel inspired and empowered by what is possible. One of the things I have done recently is become a founding member of The School of Happiness and become a Happiness Ambassador, which allows me to spread knowledge about how you can integrate happiness into your daily life. As I said before, to me success is very much related to happiness.

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 chat with Jay Shetty. I find his podcasts and content very inspiring and every time I learn something new about how you can improve your health and wellbeing. One of my markers to success is being as healthy and fit as possible and to focus on my personal growth. It would be interesting to talk about this with him!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Follow me on Instagram or LinkedIn

If you want more information about my personal coaching programs, masterclasses or workshops, visit my website.

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