How to Define Your Personal Success

Let’s get something out in the open right away: Your personal success definition is yours, and yours alone. Discovering what personal success really means to you is something that takes intentional, soul-searching thought and real, sometimes even brutal honesty. Defining it takes the cooperation of heart, mind, and soul.

At Third River Health, there’s nothing we are more passionate about than personal growth and holistic health. Today, we’d like to take you on a journey to begin unfolding what success means to you on an intimate level. Why? Because defining what personal success means to you will give you a vision, help you focus, and allow you to create and attain life goals that not only bring you joy but fill a purpose in the world.

What is Personal Success

There are already many well-circulated explanations of what success is, and many of them are money or peer-driven:

  • Obtaining wealth
  • Reaching the top of the corporate ladder
  • Getting that degree
  • Fame and recognition

If we believe what popular culture often tells us to, success is made up of money, work, and acknowledgment. It’s a race to the top and a never-ending struggle to be the best. But what do many people find when they reach the end of the rat race? Burnout, dissatisfaction, and stress, to name a few.

Personal success gets rid of all that–the expectations of others, the drive for money and recognition–and focuses on how you can both make an impact and be personally fulfilled using your dreams and talents as a catapult.

It’s Never Too Early or Too Late to Assess Your Personal Success Plan

Perhaps you already feel burned out in your current situation, or maybe you’re just starting out on your life journey as a young adult, and you need some help finding a path that makes sense to you. You’ve come to the right place. It won’t take long; grab a notebook and pen, and get ready to jot down the answers to the following questions.

What Do I Value?

Plug your ears to the voices of your parents, superiors, teachers, pastors, and friends for just a moment. All of these people probably have the best of intentions, but to truly determine what you put stock in, you have to mute those influences. What things do you put at the top of your importance list? Do you value hard work, physical strength, faith, honesty, or something else? Now, take a look at the main goals you’re pursuing right now. Do they line up with your values?

The problem with striving for success is that often we are actually striving for someone else’s idea of what’s important. Figure out what you value and make changes to align your values with your goals. Work towards what you believe in. That’s step one to defining your own success.

What Legacy Do I Want to Leave?

You may have heard the starfish story. Review it if you like; the moral of the story is, whether you make a difference to one person or a million people, you’ve still made a difference. So what kind of difference do you want to make, and who do you want to impact?

The Choice is Yours

Do you dream of making wide-rippling changes to the foster care system, or is your heart driven by making a small but sustainable impact on your community? Perhaps you have always felt like providing for your nuclear family was a solid aspiration. There are no rules here. You might have a goal of treating every person you meet with kindness or respect; that’s a legacy, too. The possibilities are endless.

If you’re having trouble, think about this: How would you like people to remember you when you’re gone? A second step to defining your personal success is to take an honest look at what legacy you’d like to leave, and start working on the roadmap to get there.

What Am I Good At, and What Fulfills Me?

You might be a great accountant but hate your job. As a stellar accountant, you might be on your way to owning your own business, managing huge accounts, and overseeing several employees, but is that true success if you don’t like what you do?

Try this: Make a chart with the headings “What am I Good At” and “What Fulfills Me.” When you finish, circle the items that match or complement each other. Those items that match are things you should work into your personal success plan.

What’s Stopping Me?

Dig deep and ask yourself what is stopping you from pursuing the life dream that would most fulfill your heart. If you’re honest, you might find that what’s stopping you is you. Fear of failure and rejection are common reasons that people don’t pursue their goals.

But as Lydia M. Child, a famous nineteenth-century women’s rights activist, abolitionist, and writer said,

“Belief in oneself is one of the most important bricks in building any successful venture.”

Note that she didn’t say what success means, because as we now know, that’s different for everyone. She succinctly explained that to attain success, you must believe in yourself.

So what’s stopping you? Take some time to determine the answer. Whether it’s a negative voice from your past or a lack of confidence, consider this: If your personal success is defined by you, it can only be fought for and built by you. Meaning, all of those competing voices have no power. Kind of takes the load off, doesn’t it?

Make a Mission Statement

You should now have a piece of paper with some headings and some really important information–the key to writing your personal mission statement. Creating a personal mission statement will help you align your values, strengths, and goals. Draft an action statement that states:

  • What you will do
  • How you will do it
  • Why you will do it.

(Something like, “I will be a health teacher who utilizes my passion for wellness as fuel to encourage healthy lifestyles, increasing my students’ quality of life.”)

And then do it! Start your journey by taking steps, whether baby or giant, towards the goals you’ve aligned in your mission statement. You’ve got this!

As always, it is our goal at Third River Health to come alongside our friends on a journey towards health, strength, and abundance. If you’d like to share your definition of personal success with us, head to our blog or social media. We’d love to cheer you on.

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