After 11 and a half years of coaching, one thing that I get from clients all of the time is that they want to be successful.
And it makes sense right? We all want to be successful!
But the thing that surprises me though is, when I ask the client to tell me; "What does success mean to you?" they almost can never answer the question.
Now this is an interesting thing, right?
For example, if I said to you, "All right, I want you to go ahead and plug in some coordinates into your GPS for me" naturally you would reply with "All right Ben, where are we going?"
And then if I reply to you with "I don't know, but plug it in. Plug in the coordinates" your response would again be "Well Ben, where are we going?"
And then imagine if I said again "I don't know but just plug it in and let's start driving," you would have to think that there's something wrong with me! How can we plug coordinates into a GPS if you don't even know where you're going and then straight away, you want to start driving?
There are people out there that are trying to get to a destination called "success" and they don't even know where it is. They don't know what it looks like. They don't know what it feels like.
Now, this may not seem like a big thing... but it is a BIG thing.
If people are striving to achieve a goal but they don't know the meaning of that goal, it dramatically affects the behaviours and actions they take in the here and now
I was doing IT recruitment for a number of years and I wasn't really fulfilled at all. In fact, I was pretty unfulfilled. I was successful at what I did, of course. I was achieving great results. Externally, everyone would look at what I was doing and would say, "You're doing great. You're doing great numbers. You're placing a lot of people. You're getting great successes." But to me, I just didn't feel successful.
Defining What Success Means To You
Right at the beginning of my journey into coaching I went along to a personal development event and at that event, they asked me to define what success means to me. I thought, no one's ever asked me to do that. No one's ever asked me to take the time out to actually work out; what does success mean to me?
So I started to write out what success means to me... and the very first thing was to do something that my mum would be proud of (Yes, I know it sounds a bit corny!) I never realised that before, but that was a core driver for me.
Second to that was as I was writing out what success would mean to me and how I would know that I was having success, I worked out that success would be having handwritten cards from clients. I felt that being successful, I would know I was successful because I would have handwritten cards from people who I'd worked with, people's lives that I had changed (let's face it, they do all the changing themselves, you just get to assist them and guide them along the way).
Handwritten cards from clients would signify that I had had such a meaningful impact in their life that they would take the time out of their life to hand write me a card. That was really what it was for me. I imaged to have a drawer in my home office, one of those deep, big filing cabinet kind of drawers, full of handwritten cards from clients. I imagined that that was the pinnacle of success for me.
Being driven by wanting to feel that I was doing something that my mum would be proud of and that I would have a drawer full of handwritten cards, I finally knew what success was because, up until that point in my life, success had a dollar sign in front of it, it was a figure, a number.
What Success Isn't
I had been chasing this dollar sign for most of my life, ending up in debt the whole time. In fact, I had been in debt from about 14 years of age.
Here's the thing, anyone who chases money - they almost never catch it. In fact, it was Richard Branson that said, "If you get into something just for the money, you're better doing nothing at all."
I didn't realise because I had been programmed by society, by the kind of people that I was hanging around with that success was all about wealth... that it was all about a financial figure... but that's just not who I am. I'm not driven by a number.
I love earning an incredible income and having an uncapped earning potential. I love traveling the world. I love the lifestyle that I have of course because of the coaching industry so don't get me wrong. You do earn an incredible income doing this.
Realising You're Successful
For me, that wasn't the definition of success. When I focused on these handwritten cards, I started to really fall in love with the craft and fall in love with what was meaningful to me.
Within about two and a half to three years, I remember coming home one day, walking into my home office and pulling open the drawer and putting another card in that drawer and realising that that drawer was in fact, now full of cards and it hit me that I was successful.
The first time in my life I felt successful. Why? Because coaching is something that my mum is proud of me doing. Don't get me wrong, my mum has been proud of me my whole life. For me, it doesn't matter how she feels, it was how I perceived it.
I still felt, all my life, I was not doing something that was driven by meaning, that was driven by really being an inspiration to the world, really creating good change out there. When I dropped that card into that drawer, about two and a half to three years into coaching, it just hit me.
It's like those goosebumps that run through your body, it was like this little thing at the top of my head just clicked and I just got this shiver all the way through my system and I realised that I was successful. For the first time in my life, I was successful.
I guess this video is just me having a bit of a share. I couldn't wish for anything more enough than for you to really just to find what success is for you.
Take some time today to just write down; what does success mean to you?
Start a piece of paper and just write: the meaning of success to me is ... just let it all flow. Get it really clear inside your mind.
For me, it was just two things; doing something that made my mum proud or that my mum would be proud of and the second one was getting handwritten cards from people whose lives I had changed.
I don't know what it is for you but once you define it and get it clear, try to get it down into one sentence and then put that sentence down below.
If you've enjoyed this video & blog, share with your friends because your friends could absolutely benefit from knowing what their definition of success is. Remember once you punch in the coordinates into that GPS and you know exactly where you're going, the entire journey becomes a breeze.
Read more about: Mindset