Defining Success on Your Own Terms

“Oh, that’s okay, I’ll take care of it.”

Sound familiar?  Women do a great deal to help others but we can have a difficult time asking for help ourselves.  In many cases, we wind up working twice as hard to achieve our goals because we are so busy doing things for others.

However, the ability to ask for help and surround ourselves with a ‘support team’ is a critical component of success.  All successful individuals and organizations have people and other businesses on which they rely in order to get things done.  So what does that mean for you?

Your team can include anyone who will help you cultivate success.  Perhaps it’s a financial advisor or an attorney.  Perhaps it’s a neighbor who will take a delivery so you don’t have to rush home.  Give yourself permission to create this team and ‘staff’ it with the people you need around you, people who will help you create success.

What Shapes Your Paradigms?

Our unwillingness to ask for help is part of a larger issue that I see as an HR executive and coach: many women still struggle with the stereotype of what is and is not acceptable for women with careers.  We often allow the latest book, seminar or other people we know to shape and define our image of success.

I believe we are the only ones who can define what success looks like.  No two people will have the same definition, and it’s important to remember that our definition of success will change over time as we move through life’s milestones.

So, how can you shape your own framework for success?  A good place to start is by thinking about and defining your passion and what drives it.  What do you love, what gives you satisfaction and joy?  How can you develop your skills so that you can make a living doing it?  Be realistic, so that you can create a workable framework for success.

Goals and Plans

Next, establish goals.  Just as an organization has specific goals over a specific period of time, we can say that in the next six months or year, this is what I would like to be doing with my time.  Whether it’s changing careers, taking care of your health or nurturing your family – plan it.

Make it fun and don’t try to tackle too much at once.  I recommend picking one or two things on which to focus your attention and making a shared commitment with others, such as a group of people exercising or learning something new together.

Once you have established your plan and goals, decide what resources are necessary for you to achieve them.  Who out there can help you?  Keep in mind that not everything has to be an expense.  Bartering is an excellent way to ‘staff’ your support team.  Perhaps you might offer your computer skills or cooking services in exchange for lessons in something you wish to pursue.  Give yourself permission to position yourself for success by creating a support team or process that creates the right framework.

Staying Flexible

Also, don’t get so focused on your original goals that you fail to recognize it may be time for an adjustment.  Sometimes, we become so intertwined with a goal that we don’t want to change course or give it up when it is clear that circumstances have changed.  Don’t feel defeated when the unexpected happens.  Just adjust your course and be open to new opportunities that may present themselves.

Remember, success is how you define it for yourself.  It’s not necessarily a job title and money, but success in life.  Only you can come to terms with what that means for you.