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What is Success?

Is it changing for you right now?

"The best thing about this whole thing [COVID-19] is that people have stopped being their role and added have starting to be people."

Corporate Change Manager

Two weeks ago I went to see a counsellor. This was my second session. I’ve started going because I’ve been getting anxious and I felt I should be responsible for my own mental wellbeing if I was going to be serious about helping other people.
Halfway through the session, I burst out with “I know what I need to do, I need to look at what my idea of success is!” My counsellor grinned and said, “that is exactly what I was going to say”.
In that moment I realised that I've been comparing my life with what I think it should be and (inevitably) coming up short but that I've not been really looking at what that ‘should’ really is. The funny thing is that a good chunk of my job is helping others do this. Now it was my turn!

Like so many of us, with COVID-19 I’m being forced to re-examine what it is that I’m really trying to achieve with my life, what's important to me because it is either changing or I'm getting a new level of clarity on it.

The source of stress and anxiety is not what is actually happening, it is the disjunct between the life we think we should be living and the life we are actually living

This is a quote from a longer piece
called “It’s self-image that screws us

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Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

So, at 2 o’clock in the morning when I couldn’t sleep, I sat down and I did that exercise. I was really surprised at how easy I found it. I knew there would be a lot of outcomes in my vision that weren't really mine, that I inherited from family, peers, my community (a lot about material success!) but I was surprised how powerful it was to actually write-everything-down.

Looking at the page in black-and-white were the things that had been driving me … and some of them really didn’t turn me on at all.
Then I started to look at the things I did actually want and they were pretty simple. Some I had already and some, with my new perspective, I could see are already starting to occur around me. Interestingly, none of these things required me to strive for them. I could see how they were all easily within my grasp.
By now it was nearly 3am and time to sleep. I can’t say the moment was revolutionary (though I did sleep well) but something quite profound did shift that I’ve been experiencing ever since.
I’ve been providing Midcareer Creation Coaching in one form or another for nearly 20 years but this little exercise has been amazingly valuable.
My relationship with my neighbours, my friends and my clients feel deeper and my life, calmer.
I’m not striving for something that's inauthentic. I feel like what I want is clearer and a lot less grandiose than the visions I inherited or picked up over the last 40-odd years.

If you want to understand more of what's behind this process, Here's a piece on how futurists do this work after Pandemics and stage the imaging of new futures.

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Photo by Ceci Bravo on Unsplash

I'm not the only person re-examining their life priorities right now. I've written a bit recently about organisational recovery and how organisations are looking at what their real priorities are. But this is happening everywhere.
I invite you to do this exercise or something like it. The world will never be the same. What’s really important to you? What does success mean to you right now?
If this speaks to you and you would like to undertake this process, but feel that a bit of support and guidance, would be useful. Contact me HERE. I'm happy to provide some free coaching.
I'm half a step ahead and sometimes, half a step is all it takes.

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