Most of us want it, but what is it?
For many success is being one of the best in their profession, travelling when they wanted to, having a healthy bank account, living in a great place surrounded by family and friends, having free time to enjoy life and be happy.
That was me until one day, I woke up and realised that"”even with all my "success""”my life felt directionless. I didn't know where I was going or why I was doing what I did. I sensed that something vital was missing.
I heard whispers of where I wanted to go, but dismissed them because they didn't fit into my well-ingrained societal and cultural concepts of success.
The thing is, these whispers wouldn't go away, so I knew I had to investigate.
The quest for a deeper meaning.
I looked closely at my life. I considered my values, my relationships, my contributions to the world and my life in general, then I used all this information to create an image of success specifically tailored for me.
Below are the 6 questions I used to guide me to a life with direction and purpose.
The questions to ask:
1. What are my core values?
Core values represent an individual's highest priorities, deeply held beliefs, and fundamental driving forces. They form a solid core of who you are, what you believe, and how you want to be going forward.
Whether you're conscious of them or not it isn't important, they are the captains of what you do and what you believe as your truth, and are the result of what your life looks like.
Knowing your core values helps you make better decisions and choices.
For example, if one of your core values is authenticity, how would you feel working in an environment where everyone wears masks, back stabs, gossips? Or, if family time is a core value, how would you feel if you worked in an environment where it was expected you would work late, put in extra hours and work overtime?
The choice becomes easier when you're clear about what's valuable in your life.
2. What is my contribution to the greater good?
The essence of this question is, why are you doing what you're doing.
Beyond earning a living, raising the kids and planning for retirement, many people have never considered how they're contributing to the greater good.
Your contribution does not have be a grandiose plan for saving the world or ending world poverty. It can be as clear as this statement, "I'd like to make sure my children understand the importance of honesty."
It's a simple reflection of the benefits that result from the actions that you're taking or will take.
One way of looking at your contribution is by asking yourself, "What have I contributed to the world so far in my life? What would I like to contribute to the greater good from this moment forward?"
3. What kind of relationships do I want in my life?
Your present relationships are a good indicator of whom you attract into your life. Who in your life gives you a boost and fills you with joy? And who drains you?
Try this exercise. Take a sheet of paper and divide the page in half. On one side list those who boost you. On the other, list those who drain you. What do you see? Do you have a predominance of one or the other?
Make a list of the qualities the people who boost you and add to your quality of life.
When considering those who drain you, note if the draining sensation comes from you and your perceived needs or does it come from their neediness. Is there any thing you can do to make the relationship more positive?
Now you should have a clearer picture of the qualities you value in a relationship and how to ensure these are the people that surround you.
4. Is my life balanced?
In your busy life do you have a satisfying amount of time dedicated to family, work, leisure and alone time? Or are you sprinting around trying to juggle a hectic schedule?
In our fast-paced world, we're lucky to squeeze in time for yoga, taking the kids to the new interactive science exhibit, and spending quality time with our significant other or ourselves.
What would have to change to add some balance to your life?
Begin by sitting down and make a detailed list of where you spend your time. Even better, write down everything you do and the times you do them for a few days or a week. Include commute times to all the places you go, every activity, meal times, tv time, sleep time, everything!
Now, look for places you can make changes. How do these changes reflect your values?
5. Do I have any regrets in my life up this point?
Make a list of all your regrets up to this point in life. Now make a list of the things you want to do now but feel you can't.
Do you want to add to your list of regrets, or are you ready to take steps towards to doing those things that you want now?
6. What is my picture of success?
Time to bring it all together. Using the information about your core values, your contribution to the greater good, your ideal relationships, your balanced life, and your regrets, you can create a picture of a successful life.
If you were living your ideal dream of meaningful success what would it look like?
Being very clear on who you are and what you deeply value changes the way you look at the world and life. Your values becoming the guiding force in your life and you are no longer a rudderless ship on the sea.