Hey there – it’s Daniel hopping on my soapbox today to shout about success and what it really means. This is such an interesting topic because everyone has their own ideas of success. My concern is that we put far too much emphasis on a certain state of being or a level to achieve, which ends up being detrimental to our mental health when we don’t hit societally prescribed markers. Aren’t humans hilarious?
Let’s get into it…
success should be selfish
I’ve been thinking lately about success and what it means to me. A lot of our goals revolve around “being successful” or “making it”- but what in the h-e-double hockey stick does that actually mean?
I feel very strongly that our ideas of success should not be tied to other people’s ideas of success. Period. It’s also important to recognize that there’s a very high chance that our ideas of success probably are tied to other people’s ideas of success and, furthermore, other people’s opinions.
“I’ll be successful when I show my dad I can build a successful business”
“I’ll feel successful when I make it to the Olympics”
“I’ll see myself as a success when I am married with two kids”.
We can’t find success in anything if we’re really just looking to impress someone else, or trying to rise to
some elusive level beyond our current standing.
To me, success isn’t about what you get, it’s about how you feel and how fulfilled you are in your life.
And therefore, success should be selfish.
F!@$ what other people think. If you’re feeling fulfilled – you’re winning.
it ain’t just money, honey
We are living in a material world… but not everyone is a material girl, or guy. It doesn’t help that we are bombarded with celebrity and influencer culture that shoves glitzy and glamorous lifestyles in our faces as if that’s the pinnacle of success. But not everyone needs a private jet to be happy, Kim Kardashian!
Success is often tied to money and I, for one, am not here for it. There’s so much more to life than money. Money is just energy, and there are a lot of ways to gain fulfillment other than a bursting bank account. Can money make things easier and open a lot of doors? Absolutely. Is it the “be all/end all” in order to have a fulfilling life? Absolutely not. I know this because some of the happiest times in my life were the times I was broke.
Think about it – some people see success as a mansion with a garage filled with luxury cars. Others see it as having the freedom to work, live and travel from their camper van.
To me, this proves that success is subjective.
It also means that the only thing standing between you and success is your ability to reflect on your life and what matters to you.
The point is: it’s never too late to redefine your relationship with success.
redefine to feel fine
The other day I heard Jane Fonda in an interview say “It’s our greatest freedom that humans have, the ability to redefine the things that have happened to us”. Ain’t that the truth, Jane!
I think this also applies to our personal definitions in life, including success, because we’ve spent most of our lives being indoctrinated into a very specific idea of what it means to reach a level of “completion” in various areas of our lives.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve flitted about like a hummingbird to a lot of different jobs and experiences in my life – from acting, singing, songwriting, graphic and web design, yoga, meditation, and more. I still dabble, but I know for sure that my propensity to pivot to my next highest excitement throughout my life caused me to carry around a constant sense of failure for many years.
For example, when I was younger, I dreamed of being a big Hollywood and Broadway actor. Now, after 10 years of auditions, commercials, musicals, movies, voice acting and TV shows, I don’t have a resume that boasts anything too spectacular. I made it to Hollywood, but wasn’t in any big movies. I made it to Broadway, but only as an audience member. Previously I considered this a failure and sunk into the drama of identifying as a “failed actor”.
Nowadays I feel like I had a very successful acting career because I set out to do all the things I wanted to do – I had everything from background roles to starring roles and everything in between – and eventually I realized this was not the dream or the passion it started out as, and I moved on to the next phase of my life… and then the next.
Luckily my obsession with personal development has also provided the opportunity to learn from many different authors and teachers and, ultimately I’ve realized success is personal and no one else gets to decide your definition.
I think it’s also important to underline the fact that there is no completion in life. You can’t get it wrong because you never get it done. We only have so much time on this earth and it’s impossible to do everything, so every moment we’re alive is technically a success in my books.
When it comes to Vortex, we set out to build a studio that provided the opportunity for personal growth on many levels – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
Does that mean to be successful we have to hit a certain amount of visitors or sessions? Or perhaps success is a certain number on a financial spreadsheet? Or getting national media coverage? Winning some awards or accolades? 50 franchises across North America?
All I know is, given the amount of people we’ve made feel good who have told us how their lives have been impacted, I can honestly say if Vortex closed tomorrow that I would feel like it had been a success.
So my message to you is this: Move forward in your life celebrating every win and loss as a success. Every step forward sees you defining (or redefining) who you are and becoming a higher version of yourself.
And having self-awareness and gratitude throughout this beautiful life that you get to create really is the highest form of success.