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  • Tom Goldstein

Redefine Success: With Authenticity and Meaning

Ready to redefine success and rewrite the rules? I'm here to support you. Reach out today for a no-obligation chat about how coaching can make a difference in your life!

A pile of stones successfully balancing
Markus Spiske - Unsplash

The concept of success is as diverse as the world's population. Each person, each culture, each organisation carries a unique interpretation. Despite this vast diversity, it's startling how often we confine ourselves to narrow definitions of success, many of which are not our own. But what if we could break free from these conventional moulds? What if we could craft a personal definition of success that is wholly ours, thereby not only redefining success but also rewriting the rules?

For me, redefining success and rewriting the rules doesn’t mean we shirk our responsibilities or chase whimsical desires without considering the practicalities of life. Our journey towards authentic success isn't about renouncing the world but about creating harmony between our inner values and outer responsibilities. It’s about crafting a path that aligns with our deeper truth while navigating the realities of the world we inhabit.

The first step towards this redefinition is to understand that success is an inherently personal concept. It’s not about conforming to an established benchmark but connecting with our intrinsic values, passions, and aspirations. The notion of "achieving success" often leads us to think of objective accomplishments, when in reality, it's a deeply subjective matter that depends on our individual desires and values.

In this way, redefining success is not a rejection of reality, but a renegotiation. It's about acknowledging our responsibilities and practical needs while not letting them eclipse our deeper truth. It's about integrating our need for survival with our pursuit of deeper meaning. And in this integration, we find authentic success - one that resonates with our true selves while honouring our place in the world.

Consider the story of Jane, a high-powered executive who had achieved all the traditional markers of success – a high-paying job, prestige, and an impressive LinkedIn profile. Yet, she found herself feeling unfulfilled and drained. At some point she realised that her career, while impressive on the surface, didn't align with her deeper truths. She valued connection, creativity, and freedom - aspects her current job didn't cater to. So, she made the bold decision to switch careers and launch her own coaching practice. This move towards her authentic success was a departure from the traditional path but led to a more satisfying, rewarding life.

To arrive at this kind of authentic success, it's helpful to peel back the layers of social conditioning that obscure our deeper truth. personal success is an intensely individual and unique concept. It could mean achieving specific life goals, feeling content, and fulfilled, or simply living in alignment with your values. Personal success drives our sense of satisfaction and meaning in life. However, it can be influenced, sometimes unconsciously, by other layers of success. These layers - personal, organisational, peer, family, societal - each carry their definition of success. Challenging these conditioned beliefs requires courage, introspection, and self-awareness. It's a journey of rediscovery, essentially, rewriting the rules.

In an organisational context, success is often measured by profitability, growth, or reputation. From an employee's standpoint, climbing the career ladder or receiving recognition could define success. It's essential to understand that organisational success can significantly impact personal success but shouldn't entirely dictate it.

Peer group success, another powerful influence, often involves living up to the expectations of friends or colleagues. The desire for acceptance can sway our perception of success. The challenge is to appreciate their achievements without losing sight of our own goals and aspirations.

Family success could encompass generational goals, achievements or even maintaining unity and harmony. Culturally influenced, it can sometimes create pressure to fulfil familial expectations. It may be important to respect and value these expectations while keeping true to oneself.

Cultural and societal success layers are deeply entwined, reflecting societal norms and expectations. They could range from academic achievements to homeownership, marriage, or specific career paths. These societal constructs can feel overwhelming, but remember, success is personal and should resonate with your beliefs and values.

Think about Tom, a leader who had always focused on driving results. The societal norms around leadership success had conditioned him to believe that strong leadership equates to control and authority. Although this was obvious to those around him, for Tom it was simply the water he swam in. He didn’t see that he had been conditioned, he only saw these beliefs as the truth. However, when he started exploring his deeper truth with the support of a coach, he realised he was limiting himself. He started to explore his passion for mentoring and empowering others. Redefining his leadership success meant prioritising his team's growth and well-being. His shift from a results-focused approach to a people-centric one is his example of rewriting the rules of leadership success.

These kinds of shifts can happen all by themselves, but often we are so caught up in our way of doing things, and our way of seeing the world. We often don’t even realise there is the possibility of a shift, let alone believe that it would be beneficial to us (and others). Unmasking the blind spots of “success definition” is another integral aspect of this journey. Often, we get caught in traps like the illusion of perfection, the overemphasis on financial success, or the neglect of personal growth and well-being. Recognising these pitfalls enables us to redefine success on our terms and rewrite the rules that have, so far, been guiding us.

Let's consider a group of friends, all of whom were chasing the traditional success narrative - lucrative careers, material wealth, social standing. When they started feeling discontented, they decided to get away for a few days together to explore what success, meaning and purpose really meant for them. The outcome of this retreat? Each of them identified personal blind spots in their pursuit of success. One realised his overemphasis on wealth, another her neglect of personal relationships, and another his obsession with social prestige. In preparation for going back to their daily lives, they each started crafting their unique success narratives, aligning more closely with their deeper truths. This allowed them to focus on integrating their realisations into the realities of their life and work.

To navigate these diverse layers of success and rewrite the rules, we must continuously engage with our deeper truth, our innate tendencies, values, and passions. It involves ongoing self-dialogue, introspection, and alignment checks. This process can be particularly beneficial for those at a crossroads in their careers or leaders seeking more meaningful success.

The intersections between our personal success and the other layers can sometimes lead to conflicts. It's crucial to approach these with open communication, shared understanding, and respect for differing perspectives. It's about acknowledging these influences but upholding our authentic definition of success.

In conclusion, crafting an authentic definition of success involves not just a redefinition but a rewriting of the rules. We discard the one-size-fits-all approach and embrace a dynamic, deeply personal, and authentic pursuit of success. This journey empowers us to lead a deeply meaningful and fulfilling life, where success is more about authenticity and personal growth than external accolades.

By challenging norms, questioning the status quo, and crafting a unique success narrative, we move beyond societal expectations. We rewrite the rules of success, paving the way for a deeply personal journey towards authentic achievement. The task may seem daunting, but the rewards - a sense of fulfilment, happiness, and purpose - are worth it.

Let's remember, our success story is ours to write. So, I invite you to start crafting a narrative that reflects your true self, a deeper truth you might only have a vague sense of. This is not just redefining success – this is about rewriting the rules, your rules.

Ready to redefine success and rewrite the rules? I'm here to support you. Reach out today for a no-obligation chat about how coaching can make a difference in your life!


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