Better Than Success?

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(Photo courtesy of Ian Stauffer)

Who doesn’t want to be “Successful” and enjoy its fruits? There is a Who’s Who list of esteemed authors who have penned remarkably inspirational self-help books with “Success” prominently featured in the title. Sorry, I’m here to tell you that success is not all it’s made out to be. 

Ask my uber-successful clients. While success may be fun, sexy, exciting, and alluring, it brings a new set of challenges. While getting noticed may feed your ego for a while, after time the loss of privacy can negate that ego rush. With camera phones, you are constantly on display whether you are ready for it or not and the images will likely outlast you.  

You may be wanting a private meal with special people, running late for an appointment, or out without makeup or a shave when someone interrupts you. How do you balance your needs with their wants? 

Then the matter of trust arises. Success brings all sorts of new people into a life with all sorts of agendas. While some may have pure motives, suddenly it becomes difficult to discern who is who. Who do you trust?  

After initial success, how do you stay successful? Whether a 20-year-old Olympic champion, a pop musician, a business person, an actor, or anyone who reaches success early, what do you do for an encore? Can you handle the expectations or pressure of the limelight? A few can, many don’t. Many are either so focused that they may have neglected other areas of their life and now those may be exposed. 

With the addition of money, preexisting problems or symptoms don’t disappear. Money just makes us more of who we already were. Besides maybe you become a lucrative target for lawsuits, need security, and special dining and travel arrangements, etc. A stop for a burger, simple shopping, or a quiet walk may become a thing of the past.

What have my successful clients come to me for? The only thing better than success is fulfillment and happiness. Here are a few things to consider if you want to avoid the pitfalls of success and ascend to fulfillment and happiness. 

Who owns you? Do you achieve, acquire and do things to prove your worth to yourself or fulfill some past obligation (like parent’s or society’s comments, fear of failure, expectations or behavior toward you)? Know yourself. When you realize that you are already enough and can just love yourself regardless of your accomplishments, you begin to own yourself. 

What are you grateful for? In a week or two could you come up with 3,500 things to be grateful for? With the right perspective, anyone can. Gratitude is a kind of muscle that can quickly be developed. 

How might you serve others? The happiest and most contented people on the planet are those connecting with and serving others. Look around. There are countless ways to serve and that is best done without expectation of getting anything in return. 

Try these simple suggestions and you will discover success really isn’t success until you are happy and fulfilled. 

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