January 2010 Issue --> Success Article
3 Mistakes to Avoid When Defining Success
By: Zoe Routh


These common mistakes may be the block that's been holding you back

When it comes to defining 'success', there are three crucial mistakes you may be making, and it's keeping you from experiencing the abundant success you deserve.

Mistake #1 - You're addicted to the adrenaline of 'achieving'.

Striving for something and reaching it is satisfying. Like climbing the hill to see the view at the top. The effort is rewarded with satisfaction and a glorious vista.

However, you may get addicted to that sense of euphoria and soon there is another mountain that needs climbing. And then another. And another.

It becomes about reaching the top rather than the joy of climbing.

That's how you become 'driven'. And it's exhausting!

Success is about how you enjoy the journey; getting there is just a bonus.

Mistake #2 - You define success outside of yourself.

You equate success to a job, a salary, a house, a wardrobe, and an award. With these kinds of definitions you bob like a cork on the ocean of circumstances. You are at the mercy of other people's whim: you wait for your boss to give you a promotion; you wait for the dream-house to appear; you wait for your industry to grant you the long-coveted award. That's a lot of waiting on other people!

With these kinds of success definitions, you feel powerless in achieving success on your own.

This is how you lose perspective, and confuse external results with REAL success.

Real success is how you feel about your life, regardless of circumstances.

Mistake #3 - You suffer under the tyranny of the 'when..then..equation'

This is what to listen for:
  • "When I retire then I'll be happy'
  • When I find a partner then I'll be happy.
  • When I pay off my mortgage then I'll feel safe.
  • When I lose fifty pounds then I'll like myself.

What happens is that once you achieve the goal - if you do - there is just another goal to fill its place, perpetuating a feeling of never arriving, of never being happy, or never being adequate or satisfied.

Turn the equation around:
  • I'll be happy now and then I'll retire and it will be a bonus.
  • I'll be happy now and then I'll find a partner and it will be a bonus.
  • I'll be happy now and then I'll pay off the mortgage and it will be a bonus.
  • I'll be happy now and then I'll lose fifty pounds and it will be a bonus.

ALL your work in this world - all of it - is centered around being happy, around choosing happiness, expressing the essence of happiness. This is the biggest legacy you can ever create and leave to the planet, and the one that will make the biggest difference to you and the people around you.

Everything else is just a fun joy ride - all the money, clothes, belongings, adventures, awards - those are all by-products of you feeling good and making happiness your primary objective.

Action Steps:
  1. Identify how you currently define success. Check to see if there are any 'when...then...' equations present.

  2. Re-write your definition of success focusing on how you feel, and the effort you make, not the results.

  3. Use your definition of success to guide you each day, and to remember that the journey is just as much fun as the destination!

About the Author:

Zoe Routh has paddled 30 weeks by canoe, run 6 marathons, worked ten years at Outward Bound, lived through cancer, married a fair dinkum Aussie bloke, and wrestled a 6 meter crocodile.

It's all true, except for the crocodile part. Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Author Zoe Routh works with women in business to enhance their personal effectiveness and leadership capacity for global effect.

For free tips on how to become a more effective leader that will save you time, money, energy, and stress, go to http://www.innercompass.com.au.
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