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I am successful! …but am I really?

What does it mean to be successful? Or even – what does it mean to you? For most people that means to have a lot of money, to have an amazing job, a fast car and a big house. Let’s challenge that a little.

What does it mean to be successful? In our careers and in our lives

Today’s world gives us a lot but in return also takes a lot. We have all this amazing opportunities to travel the world, meet new people, socialise on regular basis and buy all this shiny stuff that we see in the stores we pass by every day. Of course we pay for it by working.

Our jobs in most cases take the majority of our days or even the whole day including ride to and from work for some people. But since our jobs got better in the last couple of decades, salaries increased and our education is better and better we don’t mind working around the clock, right? Nonetheless we can choose our careers and in the best case scenario we can work our dream job. Not to mention that in this way we can afford all this things we see in ads in every corner of the world off and on line. This sounds successful, right?

How about working for a corporation, being a CEO with a high salary, 2 personal assistants and a driver? You would probably agree that this most definitely screams successful.

Now imagine being completely dissatisfied with the nature of the work you have to do in a job like that. Even to the point where you just don’t want to get out of the bed in the morning and you really want a new job or even new career. Does this still sounds successful?

Successful… But what does it really mean?

We always strive for more. We have to be better, have more money, have more shiny new things and overall be more successful. In this endless race for more it can happen that we lose connection with ourselves. We stop listening to our inner needs and solely focus on our goal – to be better, to have more, to be successful. The award that awaits in the end of this race is of course being successful which is generally defined as having a lot of money, having a respectful job, the best education, great love life etc.

I am successful! … But am I really?

Imagine the shock we can experience, when we are in fact successful as most people would describe it but in the end we are just not happy. All the big victories we achieved in the past filled us with joy and happiness. And it was a great feeling. But we never really enjoyed them to be quite frank. This is because we are always on the look for a new challenge, new improvement and overall new something to contribute to our “success”. Of course this includes doing a lot of things that generally can’t make us happy. But looking at the prize… Well… You endure them. Because the prize is what will ultimately mean achieving the main goal – being successful.

Unfortunately there’s something terrible wrong with this equation. We usually tend to idealize our goals we work so hard for. How shouldn’t we? It requires a lot of sacrifices. And after all we did everything by the book, right? We worked hard when our siblings or friends watch movies, hang out or did other things that ultimately don’t get you anywhere if you strive for success. But in the end is being successful really just a list of accomplishments, garage full of expensive cars and closet full of designer clothes?

Why do we even want to be successful?

Where this urge to prove ourselves to others and to ourself came from? Ultimately it is in our nature that we have to prove that our existence matters, that we do not live in vain. And what is a better way to prove it than through our list of achievements and accomplishments combined on the mighty list that declares you successful? Do all of this diplomas, bank accounts, houses, cars, high end jobs really mean that you are successful? Are you proud of yourself? Are you pleased with what you have done so far? Most probably the answer will be yes and you should always be proud of what you have achieved.

But have successful people ever asked themselves does this really mean I am successful? The questions that rise from beyond all this are:

“Does this make you happy?”, “Is this what makes you a better person?” and “Are you genuinely satisfied with you life, decisions and do you have a clean conscience?” You know how to answer this questions and you know what the right answers should be.

You could have millions of dollars on your bank account and call yourself successful individual but how much is this really worth if you are for instance a terrible person. Or how much are your dollars worth if your relationship with your family or with people closest to you is broken. In the end it is just money… It can bring you some degree of satisfaction when you buy a hundredth dress you don’t really need. But if your relationships are broken and you feel unhappy, if you are ultimately alone and cannot rely on anyone, it doesn’t mean much. Not really and not for majority of people at least.

How often do we think of ourselves to be successful women?

I am successful!

Photo by Juan Jose on Unsplash

Probably not enough. Since we are used to strive for more, we are always in the situation where we think we lack something. Think of your accomplishments – do you have a few good friends, perhaps amazing children and husband, have you overcome some major obstacle in your life or beat cancer and nevertheless do you have a degree in something or a nice job which you love to go to every day? Anything like that is an accomplishment that makes you a successful woman.

It is more than ok to work hard and enjoy the fruits of your labour. But you should work with pleasure rather than discontent. Be mindful and think – will this really make me happy enough to endure all these sacrifices I have to make?

Little victories matter and ultimately you can call yourself successful if you are happy and generally satisfied with your life. You will truly be successful when you find your inner peace, find satisfaction in everyday things and when you enjoy life as it is. If you are not happy, no success, no achievement will really make you whole. There will always be something missing and overall you probably can’t really say that you are in fact successful.


For the end a little homework

Think of your achievements and define 3 that you are most proud of that would generally make you a successful woman. Now think of 3 non- work, money, material things related. Think of your relationships, the good deeds you did, things that you achieved that were beyond your skills and knowledge. Think of all the wars you have won despite the odds against you.