What is success to you? Is it achieving goals? Is it growth? A being-ness?

More money, things, attention — likes on social media? Being featured on a platform? Attaining happiness?

There is no right answer. BUT there are consequences to your quality of your life and the impact you have in the world. On my own journey and observing people aspiring to achieve a good number of things in life that to them are indicators of success, I’ve learned that success in fact eludes you when you pursue it. It eludes you because then the feeling of success is fleeting. As soon as all the excitement is over, pretty much then is the feeling of success.

Achieving things are forms of success. You achieve the writing and publishing of a book, for example. It’s reason to celebrate. And you should be proud that you did it! Celebrate!! But how enduring that success is is actually dependent upon other variables.

True success isn’t outward, in some form, it is inward, in a state of being.

The variables are found in the journey of learning and in working with principles that bear the fruit, the fruit of which would be producing that book, for example. On the deeper level, it’s not the book that brings success. It’s the other way around. It’s the changed state, the continued state, the evolved state, the lived state of consciousness within the journey towards achieving that book.

The journey itself provides the development of critical capacities for an evolved and changed state. These capacities stay with you as a continued state, if you choose to embrace them. You take them to the next goal, the same goal — writing another book, for example — or a completely different endeavor. You use these principles and capacities to achieve bigger! Success, then, for me, is learning the keys to success, at the core of which lies the state of being that you are perfect without the need for any outside influencer. So, in other words, it’s not really the outcome. The outcome is the side effect of working with keys to success and being your perfect, continued, evolving you.

We may say, well the book is proof of one’s growth or mastering the keys of success. If you’re results oriented — and I am a big fan of results!! — then the book might suffice that proof. But what if there is no proof in sight?

The danger in confusing side-effects and your inner state is in believing that those side-effects are what we should keep achieving to be successful. The problem with that thinking is that sometimes we see the fruits of our success and sometimes we just don’t see them … yet. Sometimes, we never see that particular fruit we confused with success! Are we being unsuccessful when we don’t see the fruits right in front of us? Trust me, no drug will fill what you need to embrace on the inside.

Success is a state of being, whether we see the manifestation at the moment or not. It’s the journey of discovering why you’re here, with your unique experiences and life. How they help you become your greatest version of yourself. So, the journey is up and down, winding.

When you take a step back from pursuing and aspiring, and instead embrace all your gifts— and allow success to unfold in perfect timing, AND in the perfect way, you learn how amazingly and perfectly blessed and guided you really are to true success, through the up and down, winding road. True success is yours already— with fruit and with failure. That failure is part and parcel and integral to success. And, that success can never be found in a snapshot of time.

The key to true success is in accepting and loving that the very pursuit of more money, a home, publishing a book, serving more clients, growing a business or having your organization take off in tangible ways, enables you to learn, grow, discover, innovate and become the version of you that is in alignment with these goals. So, really, the pursuit of things is a great idea!

What’s not a great idea is confusing the fruits of success with the journey. True success is never in the thing achieved. Enjoy the thing achieved!! AND go deeper in gratitude, appreciation, love and respect for the process that produced (or did not produce) that thing achieved — and maybe will produce something completely different. When you do this, you are oh so living true success — exponentially!

Here’s how you can feel this deeper level of success right now. Take out a pen and list all the things, knowing, wisdom, growth, insights, learning and awareness that has come with your journey to achieving a particular goal (or not even having achieved it yet). Shift your focus off the thing you are pursuing to the trials and triumphs on the way to it. List them, sit with them. Give gratitude for them.

In an instant, you’ve already not only given yourself the opportunity to see how incredibly successful you are. You have just changed your state of being to an evolved state. And in that tiny subtle shift itself, you’ve just created the capacity to see evidences you may have been blind to and as a result the capacity to engender even more evidences.

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Originally published at medium.com