Success - What Does It Look Like?

“What’s happening in your life? What are the things that you’re actively pursuing with your time, energy and resources which aren’t actually going to bring you what it is you really want deep inside?”

In today’s world there are many different ways to measure success. One way of measuring success could be, “He who dies with the most toys wins,” or “He who climbs to the top of the corporate ladder is the most successful”. But actually very few people get to that point in their life and think, “Wow, I’ve accumulated great wealth, I have the respect of all my associates, look at me, I am the winner!” In actual fact on their death bed, they are thinking “Man, I wish I had spoken with my son more, I wish I had connected with my daughter, I wish I’d been able to leave a lasting legacy that isn’t with the stuff that I’ve accumulated, but with the people that I’ve invested in.”

Success is an interesting thing to try and measure and define for yourself. It is a good thing to reflect on because where you focus your energy is going to determine what future success you achieve. For instance if you say, “For me it’s getting the house, the car, the boat, the caravan, the budgie in the cage, the dog, the cat, the wife and the 3 kids” then that’s going to drive all of your actions towards fulfilling those things. Whereas if you understand that living in a spacious, modern house where everyone has plenty of room but don’t really see each other all day is not your idea of success; and if you let go of that dream and actually pursue a dream of relational closeness, then you are pursuing a very different idea of success and your actions will show that very clearly.

My wife’s family fondly remember a period of time when they lived together in a caravan for 2 years while they built their home. Those 2 years in a caravan caused relational closeness, because they were physically close to each other. The dream of the big house wasn’t the “thing” that would bring them close as a family, it was the unexpected time living in a caravan.

What’s happening in your life? What are the things that you’re actively pursuing with your time, energy and resources which aren’t actually going to bring you what it is you really want deep inside? Because here’s the thing, when you boil it down, what is it that you are really pushing for in life?

Is it riches? Meaning? Joy? Peace? Love? Or to experience the feeling of being known and understood? Or the warm intimacy and connection with someone special? Your honest answers to these questions and then aligning your actions to actively pursue these things is where your greatest happiness will come from.

The people I speak to, they’re not saying “How can I make more money so I can have more things?” They’re saying, “How can I make more money so that I can have more free time to connect with those that I really love?”

Money is just a gateway to relational closeness and connection with others. It gives us power to choose and freedom to act. And what if it wasn’t even about money? What if you could have that relational connectedness even without the stress of “do I have enough?” Because in Australia today, we have more than enough to survive and connect with others. It just comes down to the choices you make in pursuit of this thing that we call success.

Neil Thompson

Life Coach and Minister

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