A Different Definition of Success

The S word holds a lot of emotional weight for many of us. Almost every fortune cookie ensures us that it’s right around the corner, loved ones wish us much of it when we embark on a new journey and it’s been hammered into our brains as a mandatory core value since Kindergarten.

No wonder we feel like the world is imploding on us when we believe it’s out of reach or we think we’ve met face-to-face with it’s arch nemesis: failure. We’ve been trained to believe it’s the be all and end all of virtues.

If you type ‘success’ into Google, you’re likely to find definitions like “the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors,” or  “the degree or measure of succeeding.” Both leave a bit of room for interpretation and subjectivity – so I’m going to play with that.

What if true success- real life-enhancing, world-altering- success meant something like “the actualization of one’s self,” or fulfilling one’s purpose?” If we went in that direction, we’d be leaning heavily towards a discussion about self-actualization. So, let’s go there- shall we?

I’m talking about what I believe to be true #winning in this world. When we step into our power and express ourselves authentically and fully, we’re succeeding at the greatest and usually, the hardest challenge in life – at least, for most of us. Whatever we’re faced with, whatever circumstances come into our lives, self-actualizing is probably the most important task we’ll be given, if we choose to take it on.

I do. Pretty seriously. I’m committed to my personal growth and fulfilling my potential on this Earth- however evasive and evolving that my seem at times. It takes courage and, sometimes, constant re-commitment. But, it feels all that easier when we put our eyes on the prize, which is abundantly flowing joy and freedom.

If success means self-actualizing, it’s something that’s open to all of us. Let’s face it, we’re not all on the same page or have the same means when it comes to measuring our achievements based on how much money we made last year or the number of followers on our Instagram page. But, maybe we can all agree that fulfilling our purpose – being our true selves – or whatever you want to call it – is a real achievement.

How do we self-actualize? Well, there’s different schools of thought on this, so I’ll just tell you mine. There’s something incredibly noble and intelligent about meeting ourselves where we are – not crumbling under the weight of what or where we wish we could be.

That means acknowledging the reality of our situation, and embracing the facts of NOW. For example, I can’t wait to be able to travel the world with mine & Sally’s company The Mindful Movers, and live a life completely on my own terms. However, we just launched a few months ago and I’ve got a lot to learn about running a biz and balancing the books/life.

So, meeting myself where I am right now means focusing a ton of energy on cultivating self-awareness so I get well acquainted with the me of today. It’s only when we open the curtains in the dark rooms of our mind that we can see what’s really lurking there AND do something about it.  Basically, self-awareness is the first step on the journey to self-actualization. Know thyself and the rest shall follow.

Your “success” journey will look a lot different than mine and that’s awesome- it should, if we’re using the term “self-actualization” in the truest sense. It’s about stepping into our own unique potential and expressing that fully in a custom-only way.

To close: I invite you to join me on changing the tune about that loaded word. Let’s choose self-fulfillment over external achievement. If we spread it around my guess is that, one by one, we’ll all get a little happier, a little kinder and the world will get a little better.

*Learn more about the mindfulness component in self-actualizing by visiting our website www.themindfulmovers.com 

Ref: www.merriam-webster.com & www.dictionary.com 

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Eryl McCaffrey

Eryl is the Co-Founder of The Mindful Movers – a mental health education and mindfulness meditation company that brings these…

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