Do you know why “Anonymous” said this? Because any one of us could have said it, we’ve all experienced it. Think about a time when you’ve tried to do something new. If it was hard (success was more difficult), you may have given up, or at least found yourself dreading the idea of doing it again, but if it came easily (success was easier), you may have continued, or at least tried again. Success encourages us. It gives us hope, highlights our accomplishments, and makes us feel capable.
Most definitions of success include the words “prosperity”, “popularity”, “wealth”, and “goals”, however, I think being successful includes far more than having an outcome that involves money or everyone thinking we’re swell. Success moves beyond achieving goals, and into the realm of interaction with others, perception of self, and a life lived with depth and meaning.
|Success is so much more than just performance, prosperity, and popularity|
I continually assess my success, sometimes haphazardly, and in a few instances, with repeatable certainty. For example, every year, I do a “success inventory”, a process in which I take time to give myself kudos. I do my success inventory on a special day, my birthday. I don’t know about you, but to me, birthdays mean a lot! I love spending time with family and friends and visiting special places. Birthdays also offer a clean slate, a new year, and provide a marvelous opportunity to reflect and grow.
So, as Earth begins its course around the sun again, I take time to reflect on my previous revolution, and set seeds of intention for my annual adventure. Several weeks prior to my birthday I begin asking myself questions to get my brain thinking (check out “One Small Step Can Change YourLife” by Robert Maurer.) I don't’ have to find the answers right away, I just want my brain to chew on the questions for a while, ‘stirring the pot’ so to speak.
I start to think about what I accomplished, where I fell short, the challenges and unexpected opportunities that arose, and whether I reacted or responded to them, and how. I ask myself, “What was the general tone of my year in terms of my emotions”. I consider how my interpersonal relationships played out, where I need to take responsibility, and where I need to let go and not get caught up in drama – even If that drama is only in my head.
On the day of my birthday, I start out by creating sacred space. Whether at home, or a location like the beach or park, I lay out a cloth, using a material I love, select iconic items that have meaning for me, and light a candle. The candle reminds me to bring in the light, positive energy. Often times I will include a natural item such as a flower, leaf, or seashell, something that reminds me of my connection to the world around me.
|Rituals support humans in their daily life|
Once my sacred space is set, I allow myself to settle, spending time in meditation, either a mindfulness meditation, a guided visualization, or centering prayer. With that done, I begin to free write, allowing myself to remember my year; sometimes I will go month to month from my last birthday, other times I will notice the highlights first. What I’ve found, is that usually, I’ve had an amazingly successful year, not just because I’ve accomplished goals, but because even in my trying, difficult times, I realize that I’ve learned something, or taken away something of value that makes me a better person today. I end my ritual by considering how I would like my next year to flow – I don’t list goals per se, but rather, I set a tone, and come up with words that indicate my intentions. This year I decided to focus on being joyous, inspired and confident; ultimately with those intentions I will be successful.
By engaging in my annual ritual, I recognize that “success” means so much more than accomplishing a goal, obtaining wealth, or becoming popular – success is a quality, a timber that defines my experiences. To be kind, is to be successful. To be happy, is to be successful. To be connected with others, empathizing, celebrating, contributing, is to be successful. I’ve had a rich and marvelously successful year, and I’ve accomplished quite a bit too!
Practice engaging your inner wisdom:
What does success mean to you? How do you measure your success? Do you engage in a birthday ritual, or other rituals to give yourself credit for your success? Have you ever considered doing a “success inventory” – try them daily, weekly, monthly, or annually – by taking stock of your success, you will bring about more success.