Have You Constructed an Inaccurate Vision of Success?
The first time I determined I wanted to be a business owner was when I was in sixth grade. I can still recall telling my friends, “I’m going to start a business and hire you guys so we can hang out and play all day, and do some work when we get bored.”
I think it’s pretty crazy, as I think back to 34 years ago when I had that conversation, and how that goal has basically come to fruition. I get to go to work each day at MINDSCAPE with a group of people I consider my friends (one of them is even my 25 year old son)! Not only that, but I feel as if I’m playing each day, instead of working, because I love what I do.
That would be a pretty short and efficient story if it was always that way, but it wasn’t.
As each year passed by, I thought more and more the way I believed adults were “supposed to” think. I slowly began to lose the idealistic image that was planted in my mind all those years ago, and I began the process of prioritizing “making lots of money” ahead of pursuing what I loved and working with people I enjoyed.
I know I’m not alone, and if you’re honest with yourself you can probably recall a time where the same type of shift occurred within you. I struggle to determine why this happens.
Is it because we become more mature and start to “settle” as we become “responsible adults?”
Is it because we’ve observed so many other “adults” take jobs they hate simply because “they need to pay the bills?”
After a lot of personal reflection, I realized my issue was that I began to construct an inaccurate image within my head of what I believed “success” to be. To me success equaled money, and with that money, I’d buy lots of “stuff” and that “stuff” would make me happy.
Does that sound familiar?
It didn’t matter how many business achievements I accomplished, or how much money I brought home, I felt as though I was missing something. There were times I honestly believed there was something wrong with me, and I’d get angry because it seemed as though NOTHING was enough!
Listen. I’m not a communist, nor do I believe that money is evil. I’ve simply found that “success,” and the happiness you derive from achieving it, is tied very closely to your personal image of “success.” It’s definitely not a one-size-fits all proposition, and is something you’ll most likely figure out over a long period of time with lots of trial and error.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I had a much better understanding of what true “success” looked like (for me) back when I was in sixth grade. Today I value my friends and family above all else, and nothing makes me happier than experiencing life by their side.
Whether I’m attending one of my kid’s events with Amanda, going on a backpacking trip or a hike with friends, or sitting around a conference room table joking with my fellow MINDSCAPErs. Those are the times I’m happiest and feel the most successful.
Over the years I’ve come to the realization that for me, success is much more about the quality of my personal relationships, and the things I get to experience in life, than it is about making money or owning stuff. I’m not saying my “vision of success” is the way everyone should look at it. I’m saying it’s the way that’s right for me. I believe success is very subjective and instead of blindly adopting someone else’s image, you should invest the time and energy to determine what it looks like for you .
Do you feel your image of success, and what it takes to be happy in life has shifted as you’ve gotten older? When you think about it, were you closer to having it “right” when you were in sixth grade (like me)? If so, I’d love to hear what you believe caused you to give up on the vision the “younger you” had gotten so right, or what helped you gain that vision back! Please leave a comment below.
Until next time … Enjoy each moment!