We are coming to the end of 2013. Pretty soon you’ll start thinking about your New Years Resolutions.
In two days, it will be Christmas. You’re going to be surrounded by people you don’t see often. They are going to ask you how you are doing.
“What have you been up to?” they’ll say.
You’ll stammer through the usual, “Oh…you know. I’ve just been busy, work and the kids.”
They’ll agree, then one up you with something they bought or a trip they took. You’ll smile and nod, but something in you won’t allow yourself to be fully happy about it.
If you don’t have a well thought-out definition of success, you will be jealous of what other people have and do. Plain and simple.
When you ask people to define success, they usually spit out a boilerplate answer with a combination of happiness, family, comfort, money, treating people well. Here’s the problem: boilerplate means just that. It is common…the socially accepted version of the answer. It’s what you think you are are supposed to say.
Next thing you know, someone in your life gets a new car, a new house, has a baby, gets a promotion, goes on a trip around the world, etc. You want to be happy for them, but somewhere inside you are really pissed off at yourself that it’s not you doing those things.
And why? You don’t even really want any of these things!
The truth is, you haven’t spent time to think about what you want for yourself.
So before you get frustrated, and before you start setting ambitious wants for 2014, you need to figure out what success looks like for you.
Define your purpose.
Purpose is the lens you will use to see your definition of success. If you don’t know your purpose, it is impossible to accurately define what success looks like for you.
So how do you figure out what you purpose is? Chances are, it’s easier than you think.
Take a second to think about what you really love to do. What makes you happy every time you do it? Got it? Great.
Now, think about why it is that you love doing this? What about this thing makes it so enjoyable?
Do you love to compete, cook, read, teach, build, create, perform? Why? There is a feeling you from doing your thing, and it stems from your purpose.
I love to talk to people. Even more than that, I love to share what I know. When I dig down to why this is I have realized that I get incredible joy out of helping people. I love to add value. I love to leave things better than I found them.
So…I have learned that my purpose is to help people add value to their lives.
Apply your purpose.
Now that you know your purpose, apply it towards everything you do.
I do this in business with the company I am building. I want to help busy, overworked people make their jobs simpler.
I do it at home with my wife and my kids. I put conscious effort into teaching my kids through playing with them, through helping my wife around the house, and through having conversations around topics like this one.
I do it in public. I’m that guy in the store who will recommend a product I love when I see someone looking at it (read this book). You may be the person who is annoyed by that. I am sorry. It’s built into who I am.
Knowing your purpose makes it easier to define success for you. Instead of judging your life through ambiguous terms like happiness and wealth and comfort you can view it through your purpose. For me it’s “Does this add help people add value to their lives?” If the answer is yes, I consider it a success.
You have something in you like this. Search for it. Think about it. Then, use it to define what success looks like for you.