Every day I come into contact with people who seem to be on a fast track to nowhere. Their ultimate goal is to accumulate as much wealth, the latest gadgets, the newest and biggest electronics, the flashiest car, experience the most thrilling holiday. But, at the end of it all, those same people say to me over and over again that there is something missing. Having everything that there is to have still leaves them with an acute sense of being unfulfilled in their lives. So, what is missing?
Our current world is so desperately caught up in achieving success, at times, it seems, not ever even thinking about the price one often pays for such success. Yet, in the mad rush for success (in this definition of success, read: to have as many things, as big a house, as large a bank balance, as possible!) very few people can actually tell me what they mean when they say that they are striving for success as their ultimate goal! Most folk seem to assume that having all the trappings of our modern society means that one is successful. Yet, at the end of it all, with all of the trappings firmly ‘under the belt’ and registered in their names, they still feel profoundly unfulfilled, and unsuccessful!
Let’s make it plain here: Lasting success can NEVER mean simply having everything that there is to have! That shallow definition of success will ALWAYS leave you unfulfilled and disappointed. That sense of success is also always based on a comparison between yourself and those around you. Remember the old saying “keeping up with the Jones’s”? This type of success always sets you up to be disappointed, and left feeling a failure. Just when you have taken delivery of the latest super-sports car, your success opponent (that person whom you are competing with for success) will in all probability come along with a better model car, or gadget, or holiday, etc!
I would like to make a suggestion about your (and my) success. If comparing ourselves against others always sets me up for failure and disappointment (and it ALWAYS does, trust me!), how about defining your success and measuring your success against yourself? What do I mean? Simple. To begin with, success essentially is a personal peace of mind flowing out of a sense of self satisfaction and personal achievement. How should I measure that achievement? Simply by knowing and being totally convinced that I have given my best effort to become the best that I can be!
That certainly takes all the pressure off regarding having to be seen in the office, my home, in my circle of friends, as having the external evidence of success, because success is a deeply personal, internal issue in all of our lives. Knowing that I have given my best, knowing that I have contributed to the best of my own ability, makes me successful. This, in turn, brings a lasting sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.
This definition of success takes away the false need to have to prove to everyone around me that I am successful. It also automatically permeates all of my life. Not only my business life, but also my relationships with family, spouse, children, and friends will all benefit from my giving my best to all of those areas of my life. Even my spiritual life benefits from this new concept of success. It releases me from the need to perform, and allows me to concentrate on what is important, allowing me to make a difference to those around me whilst at the same time empowering me to leave a legacy of strong, effective leadership.