What does your vision for personal success look like?
The definition of personal success is different for everyone, right? So to define yours, imagine that you’re on your deathbed. You have lived to old age, and your exhausted body is succumbing, breath by breath, to the decisive blow.
In your final interval of clarity, you take the opportunity to reflect on your life: your memories, your loved ones, the ambitions you’ve fulfilled, and the dreams you never pursued. Did you live your values?
Would your future Self be reassured by the path you’re on today?
What about the decisions you’re making, your priorities, your daily routine . . . or lack thereof? Or would this more experienced and wiser you look back with regret at your inability to set your goals into action?
What can you do to more closely align your values with your “personal success” vision and reclaim your sense of true purpose?
Here are a few tips for defining personal success and moving toward a Restored Sense of Self.
1. Don’t waste your time.
Realize that your time is valuable, just as valuable as anyone else’s. Don’t waste your time procrastinating or putting other people’s desires and needs before your own. Did you know that you can only truly be of service when you’re not emotionally in need of thank yous or other forms of validation?
Purposeful individuals recognize the importance of their time, the “save yourself first” rule we are so familiar with but often tend to neglect. The habits of successful people reflect this awareness.
2. Commit to your values.
What do you value most? Commitment can be a scary proposition if you’ve never allowed yourself to ask this question. Take a moment and think about how to align your life with your values.
Your refusal to clarify personal values and your ensuing fear of commitment may stem from an addiction to a “feel-good state” that keeps you constantly looking forward to the result of gaining approval.
But remember . . . when you commit to something, you’re not committing to an elusive goal in the distant future. You commit to your values on a daily basis. Commitment is cumulative. It happens in small steps . . . not in leaps and bounds.
The need to feel good about yourself can be compulsive. If you don’t have a Healthy Sense of Self, this feel-good state is rewarded through gaining approval from others. When this happens, you know you’re functioning as your Substitute Sense of Self (SSoS).
If you’re living from your false self instead of your true Self, committing to something may be experienced as a high-risk situation. What if you have to skip an opportunity to gain someone’s approval? And that feel-good state you crave?
By committing to your values and living your values as you move toward personal success, no risk is too high.
3. Keep a journal of your progress.
Use a journal to help build strong self-awareness and keep track of your progress. Answer two questions every day: What steps did I take today to move towards my goal? If I didn’t take any steps, what can I do differently tomorrow to create the space for taking those steps?
Take a page from martial artist and philosopher Bruce Lee, who determined in his journal that life is an “ever-going process.”
Develop a growth mindset and measure your success by your progress—by how far you’ve traversed toward goal achievement.
4. Recognize that you are a real person, regardless of your level of success.
When you move through life with your Substitute Sense of Self, you’re living with an addiction to the feel-good state. And from here, achieving personal success can feel like an insurmountable challenge.
In your futile hunt for approval, you’ve internalized other people’s opinions on how to be successful in life. You’re always pushing yourself to fulfill impossible ideals and struggling with your “Fear of Annihilation.”
Annihilation can feel like a type of death as it creates an intense sense of ‘not being part of’ that can be compared to nonexistence. The physical body dies only once, though annihilation, as described here, happens repeatedly. This subconscious sense of not existing is experienced as terror, which keeps a person anxiously trying to live up to the conditions that promise approval . . . – Antoinetta Vogels, The Motivation Cure
Quite the dismal outlook. But consider the possibility of an alternative path: one where you choose life over death. Where you accept that you exist as a real person . . . independent of your accomplishments.
Furthermore, when you work to cultivate a Natural Sense of Self, you develop your ability to eliminate the hidden agenda. You overcome the misleading promise of feeling-good-about-self, get rid of limiting beliefs, and define your success instead of letting others dictate it for you.
Ready to start aligning with your core values? Ready for your next step toward personal success.
Author: Lindsay Dick
About the Author: Lindsay takes pride in crafting content that is clear, conversational and draws people in with what we all want to hear: a good story. Her love for compelling narrative and rigorous research led her to pursue a history degree in college, the equivalent of Spartan military training for reading and writing.