Do we need a better model of success?
“Nothing should go back to normal. Normal wasn’t working.”
It’s a statement that caught my eye amongst the sourdough starter pics, Zoom chat screenshots and remote learning grumbles in the early stages of the pandemic.
For a long time, I had been thinking about how we can move our world towards one that is kinder, more connected, and honours our planet with the love and respect it deserves. We were chasing the wrong things – WEALTH, POWER and STATUS were never going to give us the peace of mind we wanted, but even the most enlightened of us would still complain about needing to earn more money, build our personal profile or get more followers. Let alone the fact that at the big end of town – in our corporations and governments – EVERYTHING seems to be centred around them as measures of success.
My own experience with “success” has been an interesting one. I started my first business following a GFC redundancy from my corporate marketing job. My dream was to create a BIG, albeit deeply meaningful and sustainable, stationery brand – and I put as much time, energy and money as I could into pursuing that. Things did not go to plan, and four years later, I had to shut it down, liquidate as much stock as possible and decide what to do next.
I had failed.
It was during this time that I first realised that what mattered most in life was not those traditional measures of success at all. While we had lost a considerable amount of money, EVERY other aspect of my life was far better than it had been before. I was a better parent and partner. I loved working every day and had built up a wealth of skills and experience, and was healthier, happier and far better connected than I had been in years. I had slowed my life right down and had time to savour the lovely “tiny moments” that make up a life.
Was this what success actually looked like?
I decided to start again, and have since dedicated the past eight years helping small and micro business owners achieve a more balanced view of success for their lives, as well as their business. I’ve also spent a lot of time exploring – reading, journaling, talking with others – trying to work out what a new, more “wholehearted” model of success might look like.
Here’s what I’ve come up with…
We all need a reason to get up in the morning. We need to identify our big life goals and put our values front and centre, in everything we do. We also each have a unique set of skills, knowledge, passion and experience, and being able to put these into use in our work and our personal lives each day, will ensure we thrive.
Broader in scope than wealth, and less individualistic than abundance, prosperity is about ensuring that you have enough money, time and energy to be your best self, without drawing excessively from the limits of the natural world. It’s also about growing in ways that don’t deplete resources or exploit others, such as wisdom, contribution and love.
If there’s something we’ve learning during our time in lockdown, it is exactly how much we need to connect with others. Yes, even the most introverted of us! We need the security and safety we feel with our loved ones, while connecting with others outside our immediate circle builds acceptance, kindness and compassion. I’m hoping this time will also help us appreciate exactly how much strong communities can look after each other in times of need.
We need joy as we need air!
A permanent state of happiness may elude us, especially in our current times, but moments of joy are always available… to lift our mood and allow us to appreciate THIS moment. Find whatever brings you joy. It doesn’t matter whether it’s playing with your kids, listening to (or making) music, being active, losing yourself with a hobby or craft, cooking a delicious meal, relaxing with a good book, spending time in nature, or even doing your work – the result is the same. The more you do things that bring you joy, the more successful you will feel.
Success doesn’t have to be elusive. Nor should it be driven by other people’s expectations and values. It is simply YOUR unique way of thriving and living your best possible life.
What does success look like to you?
To discover practical ways to bring Wholehearted Success to your business and life, download my FREE Wholehearted Business Transformation eGuide.
This article was originally published in ERA Magazine, Autumn 2021 issue.
It’s been quite a journey to arrive here… and yet this is probably where I’ve always been heading. Sharing my experience, skills and knowledge to help reimagine work, life and leadership, and bring greater humanity and community into our working lives.
With over 25 years’ experience as a marketing professional – many in my own business – combined with a life-long curiosity and passion for positive psychology, leadership development and personal growth, I have explored ways we can achieve a more “wholehearted” version of success based on four principles – Purpose, Prosperity, Connection and Joy.
Using these as a foundation, I believe we can reshape our world into one that is more sustainable, loving, kind and connected.
Are you ready to join me?