By Laurence McCahill
Illustration by Claire Holgate
Too often success is deemed to be something judged by other people — in business it’s ‘hockey stick growth’, in life it’s the big house or luxury car.
But these measures of success are what society has forced upon us — they may look great on the outside, but don’t always feel good on the inside.
“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”
Aiming for such pillars of success may feel like a noble challenge, but more often that not can be a soul-destroying experience. Financial or material goals often turn into a moving target where the bar is aimed higher and higher.
We find ourselves on the hedonic treadmill but we can’t get off.
Life goes by in a flash.
And opportunities to help others are missed.
A mere distraction as our eyes are fixed firmly on the prize.
We’ve been sold a lie — with neither the journey nor the destination leaving us feeling fulfilled.
And life tick ticks on by.
Aim or purpose?
Definition of success (noun):
The accomplishment of an aim or purpose
We believe that success is something incredibly personal — a brighter future that only you can determine.
But we need to bring that brightness into each day.
No more of that ‘Sunday night feeling’. But rather an excitement about what Monday brings. Where that commute feels like a tap dance rather than a trundle.
So don’t aim for that goal, let your purpose guide you.
Don’t make the choice between chasing the dime or doing good in the world. Rather work at the intersection of money and meaning — where your talents and passions meet the needs of the world.
“When we act from deep integrity, the universe conspires to support us.”
Frederic Laloux, Reinventing Organisations
By working on something meaningful to you you’ll attract others. Your work will be your beacon.
Over time you can measure success in terms of the relationships you’ve developed, the experiences you’ve been part of and your impact on the lives of others.
These will be the things you remember and get remembered for.
A legacy rather than an exit.
Knowing your why
Without understanding your own needs the journey ahead will be a challenging one.
So think about your role in the world. What does success look like for you?
And keep checking in to see whether the thing that you’re doing allows you to realise this.