What are your dreams? What do you want to achieve in life?
One of mine is to be a writer – like a proper one who makes money from it. So I’m working in that direction, slowly, in my spare time.
I often read a helpful blog by Jeff Goins, who helps writers get started. He tells me that it’s important to identify myself as a writer now – I shouldn’t wait until I’ve actually sold or published something before I give myself that title.
I think that’s so cool. But it’s also hard to do.
Imagine it. You get chatting to the person next to you on the plane, or a stranger at a party. It’s only a matter of time before the inevitable question pops up.
‘So what do you do?’
Let’s say one of your dreams is to start and run a great business. You’ve never done it before, and you’re only in the planning stage. You would probably feel a bit of a fraud if you answered ‘I’m an entrepreneur’ or ‘I’m a business woman.’
Why is that? For me, I resist calling myself a writer because so far, I’ve had no success, and I’m afraid that the person I’m talking to will judge me for claiming to be something I’m not.
The destructive measure of success
It’s funny that we seem to depend on other people to give us our identity, and let us know whether we’re successful or not.
We’re doing it constantly. We’re always adopting the values that society mostly uses to measure achievement – money, power, fame etc. – to assess our own situation. We feel like we’ve failed if we don’t measure up.
I think I’m not a writer because I haven’t made any money, and no one’s heard of me. But who decided that these two factors – money and fame – have anything to do with success?
Design your own criteria
Looking to the world to tell you if you’re successful or not becomes as frustrating as carrying water in a sieve, as we try to meet endless expectations. This leads to a pretty joyless, unadventurous existence.
Even if we meet the criteria set by our popular culture of a successful person, we probably won’t feel particularly fulfilled, because they’re not aspirations that come from with us.
Instead, we need to set our own goals – milestones along the road to the dreams we long to reach. These are the things you and I are specifically on earth to do.
Here are 4 ways in which defining our own achievements will enable us to live happier, more successful lives:
1) Life is more fulfilling
Setting goals based on our passions makes pursuing them a fulfilling experience. It is a great relief to no longer regard the expectations of the world, to be set free from endless worry about which box those around us will slot us in.
One of the goals I’ve set to help me on my journey as a writer, is simply to help people live happier, more adventurous lives. As a result, each time someone emails or leaves a comment telling me that they’ve been helped by something I wrote, I’m hitting targets, and I feel awesome!
If I only used the goals that the world would love to set for me, I wouldn’t value this feedback half as much, tossing away the opportunity to be encouraged and feel the satisfaction of success.
2) We are in charge
Setting our own goals means that we are no longer blown around by what others think, but we can actually crack on with building something meaningful.
Truly successful people don’t chase success; it grows out of who they are. They don’t strive to fit into the world’s tick boxes, but purposely set about doing things that matter – things they care about.
Success then comes a lot more easily, and is certainly a great deal more fun to pursue. The great news, is that if we set about doing important things, though there will be setbacks, ultimately we will not fail, because these are things that we are specifically designed to achieve.
3) There is endless encouragement
By focusing on how we’re doing with the things that actually matter, we become less focused on how far we’re falling short of society’s expectations, and more aware of how much we’re actually achieving.
For example one of Irina and my shared goals is to make our home the happiest, funnest, most adventurous place on the planet for our family. So when, even after a difficult day at work I decide to be like the sunshine coming through the front door at the end of the day, I feel like I’ve achieved something great – because I have.
4) We are more secure.
When something great happens to a friend or colleague, especially if it’s in your area of expertise or interest, do you ever feel a little frustrated or jealous?
If we live a lifestyle of defining our own goals, we develop our own sense of purpose. We are no longer rattled by the success of others, because we’re aware of our own breakthroughs happening every day. We have our own journey, cram-packed with breakthroughs and peak moments of our own.
So, don’t wait a day longer to be a successful person. Be one today. Set your own goals, big ones and small ones, and achieve them. Don’t be bound by the world’s fickle expectations – you were born to soar, to paint your own picture, to live in a way only you can live and achieve things only you can achieve.
You are more amazing than you think!
Thanks for reading. If you found this helpful, go ahead and share it with your friends.