What does success look like?
It’s fair to say that we’re living in some interesting times.
People are launching lucrative careers through video platforms, such as YouTube, and making money from the number of social media followers they have.
Good luck to those who are doing it, of course, but in this celebrity-driven era it’s also important not to lose sight of what success really means.
Instant success is easier to achieve than long-lasting success, and the last thing you want is to be a flash-in-the-pan success story.
When I teach people the fundamentals of achieving success, it’s always based on a long-term vision.
Success that doesn’t last isn’t really success.
So I thought I would take some time today to discuss what success looks like.
LET’S START WITH WHAT IT’S NOT…
Success is not about showing off.
While financial freedom is a big part of success, the truly well-off don’t flaunt it.
Having a lot of money is a reflection of how hard you’ve worked and you should be proud of it, but using it to show off with displays of wealth is just tacky.
Success is not about buying more things.
Once you start to achieve financial freedom, it’s tempting to go and buy more things.
My advice is always to be very careful about what you spend money on.
Pick a few luxuries that you will enjoy and spend your money on those. Then save the rest.
Success is not about keeping up with others.
One of the main barriers to financial freedom is our human tendency to want to “keep up with the Joneses”.
We start earning more money, so we move into a higher “wealth echelon” with nicer cars and appliances.
But keeping up with wealthy friends is expensive, and many people don’t stop to ask themselves if they even need a new car every other year.
They’re just doing it because everyone else is and this gets expensive.
Success is not about winning.
If you’re striving for something just to prove a point to someone else, then you’re not really chasing your own success story.
Forget about equating success with beating the opposition; it’s about your own measure of achievement.
So what is success?
You’ll have your own ideas, but here’s my version of it:
Freedom to shape your own life.
This is the number one reason many of my clients want to achieve wealth.
It’s not the money that matters so much, but the freedom that it gives you.
This could mean working less for some people, while, for others, it means travelling more.
It could mean freedom and time to learn a new language or simply to provide for a more comfortable retirement.
Reaching your potential.
I’m a big believer that we’ve all got gifts that give us the chance to do something extraordinary with our lives.
It could be starting a business or helping others, but either way there’s no mistaking the feeling of work that satisfies a deep need in you.
Following your own track.
Sometimes in order to achieve the above, you need to go down rabbit holes that others would never go down or follow a gut feeling that makes no sense to friends or family.
Success is the courage to listen to those instincts and follow your own path.
Often we don’t give ourselves credit for how far we’ve come and the hurdles we’ve jumped over.
You may not have achieved all your goals yet (who has?), but overcoming adversity or surviving tough situations is definitely a measure of success.
Your relationships with others.
There’s no point in amassing a fortune if you step on so many people along the way that you’ve no friends or family left talking to you.
Good relationships with your family, your spouse, your clients all stem from the same ability to maintain healthy relationships.
It’s what psychologists call a high EQ, and this is an under-rated trait in my book!
Investing in the future.
Successful people don’t spend their money, they re-invest it.
They realise that to spend money on assets that depreciate (such as expensive cars) rather than on those that appreciate (residential property, for example) is self-defeating.
Success is always about planning for the future.
So, to summarise, success isn’t about how much money you’ve got in the bank.
I know that’s a cliché, but it’s a good one.
This is not to say that money isn’t important because it is.
But the point is to use money to give you the freedom you want in life, rather than as a status symbol.
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