Imprinted within our psyches is the notion that success is something that should be visible. Until recently, it has had a rather distinct look to it.
The conventional checklist consisted of a distinguished job title with commensurate pay, marriage, a healthy family, an oversized home, expensive cars and exotic trips.
While today's success story may include some of those things, we are awakening to the sense that something more is to be considered. The traditional paradigm is losing its grip and many are searching to find alternative measures of accomplishment.
Here are three tips to find success as it transitions away from its time-honored definition.
1. Shift to an internal barometer.
Our focus is shifting from what we look like to what we feel like. In the past, personal satisfaction has been overlooked in the name of responsibility and sacrifice.
Though we wish to remain responsible, sacrificing our sense of well-being is no longer a bargaining chip. We understand the physiological effects of stress and we are starting to more openly discuss mental health issues.
The topic of happiness is being actively researched. No longer solely looked at as an incidental occurrence, happiness is now considered a necessity—and a right.
Paulo Coelho sums it up nicely in his book Manuscript Found in Accra. He writes, "What is success? It is being able to go to bed each night with your soul at peace."
2. Change from a macro perspective to a micro outlook.
Don't wait until your latter years to question what kind of life you have led. Of course, the assumption is that all of us are fortunate enough to get to our latter years.
We believe we'll have the opportunity to look back and ask ourselves, "Have I lived a good life? Do I have any regrets?" What if you start to regularly ask, "Did I enjoy today? Am I happy at this moment?"
Repetitive reflection is a feature of contemporary success. The endpoint is not the singular focus. You don't wait until you reach your destination. You make it a habit to appreciate the scenery along the way.
3. Give yourself permission to evolve.
From the time we are toddlers, society encourages us to keep narrowing our paths. We tell the 4-year-old that she cannot be a doctor, a ballerina and an artist as she insists she must.
By the time we reach young adulthood, most of us experience some anxiety about choosing the "right" thing. The old way was to find a good paying job, ride it out, and collect a pension. That way of life is quickly disappearing.
In the times of traditionalists and Baby Boomers, changing course was viewed as immaturity. However, we are witnessing a different pattern in Millennials and some of Gen X. In pursuit of a fulfilling existence, course correction is perfectly acceptable.
Ultimately, success has become about giving oneself the room to evolve into what is called for by that period of life. Personal satisfaction is at the helm. We acknowledge that success may be behind multiple doorways. Though we can't walk through all, we are willing to explore more than one to obtain a better fit.
In conclusion, strict parameters once delineated who could be considered successful and who could not. Over time, we are seeing that success continues to become a very personal experience and that individual vision holds more importance than societal influence. We've peeled back the outdated layers and have thankfully discovered that success has a soul.