Last night I painted black spots onto a white skivvy so Frank, our 5 year old, could go to school dressed as a dalmatian puppy. Today is his 101st day of school and all of his classmates are dressing up to celebrate. Franks is stoked and so he should be. School is a drag for a kid who would rather be playing nintendo or digging in the mud. Celebrating with his pairs today is something he’ll hopefully reflect back on fondly.
Today's success looks like a cute kid dressed as a puppy.
Success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. The older I get the more I’ve come to realise that success is ultimately linked to your values. If you value money then financial success will be incredibly important to you. It will also be the prism in which you judge other areas of your life. For example, how much money you can provide for your family or how wealthy your friends or colleagues are.
I’ve written about values before and how important they are to know and see clearly (I even made a cool worksheet to help you figure them out). When we understand what our values are we can use them as a metric to define what our success looks like.
For example, I’ve come to the conclusion that usefulness, curiosity and abundance are my moral GPS points. A metric for curiosity for me is reaching out to people I don’t know particularly well and having a chat. No agenda, no real purpose other than getting an insight into someone else's world, how they got to where they are or where they want to be.
Success in this instance looks like a zoom call with someone outside my regular network.
This is a double win for me because it’s also a tick for abundance. Losing an hour or two of paid work a week so I can have a ‘curious conversation’ with someone is a great example of leaning into abundance. I hate to think of all of the interesting conversations I’ve missed out on because I was ‘too busy’ to stop and spend an extra 10 minutes chatting outside the school gate or catching up for a coffee.
The other morning I was going for a run, it was 6.15am and I ran past a pair of school mums walking on the other side of the street. I waved and continued on. A few seconds later I realised that I probably wanted to go say hello properly but it meant I would be late for work. I stood under a tree in the dark, taking one step towards home, then one back towards the walking track and finally decided to catch up with them. I gave them a hell of a fright when I caught up with them but it was worth it.
I never regret ‘doing’ but will always second guess not ‘doing’ - if that makes sense?
Being ‘successful’ used to conjure up images of happy people in beautiful homes with well behaved kids. Lots of people would agree that success has been narrowly defined by the world around us. Social media effectively acts as a magnifying glass to concentrate success to a particular shape, size, colour and selfie angle.
Use your values to create the metrics you define your success by.
Keep it simple and always acknowledge and celebrate the small wins.