Success is one of those words that everyone knows, yet means different things to almost everyone. So before you dive into how to reach success, you have to understand what success means to you. After all, you can’t succeed if you can’t recognize it. The two most important questions to ask yourself if you want to succeed is what does success look like for you and why is it important? You see these questions can be answered in so many ways for the exact same situation and ultimately without the answer all of the best habit change, performance enhancement, increased productivity tips are useless.
Ask yourself: what does success look like to you? Is success landing a big promotion, buying your first home, completing that novel you’ve always wanted to write, spending more time with family? Take a step back from your goal and really envision what would your life look like if you succeeded. Do you like the image it paints?
Ask yourself: why is it important? And then ask that two more times. For example, I am currently in the process of launching YourPsychology.ca complete with Youtube Channel, ebooks, and online courses. Success for me means meeting my deadlines, publishing free and low-cost resources for the community, and getting those resources out to people who need them. Why is that important to me? Two reasons: (1) I want to help others and (2) I want to create a flexible part-time income.
Again, why is that important? (1) Because our society doesn’t prepare us to cope with big changes, heartbreak, fear, anxiety, anger, trauma and so much more. I think that’s heartbreaking and I hope that through sharing my professional (and sometimes personal) experiences I can help people live the lives they’ve always wanted. (2) Having a flexible part-time income would allow me to save more for retirement, work less hours overall, and do work when and where I want to.
And finally, why is that important? (1) Everyone deserves a chance to strive for the best version of themselves and sometimes we find ourselves trapped in destructive patterns because the coping strategies we have suck. It’s important to me to put out things into the world that do good, to give everyone the opportunity to succeed. (2) Nothing in the world is more important to me than the people I love and with flexible hours and more money I get more time to spend with loved ones.
Through continuing to look at what is important to me I noticed two things: it is important to me to help and support others in reaching what is important to them, and that my loved ones are my top priority. Knowing this may influence the way I reach success.
For example, it may be more important to me to have a long-term plan towards making Your Psychology successful rather than working 12 hour days, 7 days per week to make it happen quickly because ultimately my loved ones matter most and I won’t sacrifice all of my time with them. And knowing that helping others reach what is important to them fuels my desire for this type of business I may focus my blogs, videos, books, courses on how to teach others to identify what really matters to them and provide them tools for tackling different types of obstacles to moving towards a meaningful life rather than more gimmicky or trendy types of advice or tips that may not make a lasting, meaningful change.
So what does this all mean for you and your success? Use these questions to identify what is at the core of your success, what will succeeding allow you to move towards in life, what matters most. Then use those words or phrases (we call them values) as your starting point. Making sure that every step you take towards success takes you towards those values.
Take a moment now to complete the exercise and then write down all the steps you could actually take that would represent what is important to you (I am going to (1) publish this post on my website and write down ideas for 3 new videos, and (2) go to bed early tonight so I can wake up refreshed to spend the day with my partner). If it helps, you can also use the Purposeful STEPS worksheet I have in my free resources to organize your plan of action.
And remember, progress is made one step at a time, always. Start with the tiniest step you can think of – maybe completing this exercise is a step for you – and build from there slowly. There will always be obstacles, backtracking, and pitfalls along the way. That’s how you know you’re on the right track. Nothing that matters is ever easy, but it’s always worth it. In my humble opinion.
Dr. Jessica is a psychologist (supervised practice), author, and trainer who is dedicated to bringing science-driven advice and information to everyone.