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How to Be Successful at Success

by Michael Michel

The framework for “success” is one that could use some defining. If we’re going to throw a word around that’s as important as this word has become, the least we could do is spend some time getting to know it and get clear on what it means to us.

Two of my best cents as follows...

Success isn’t just about accomplishing something amazing. Folks can easily fall into a trap where they drive themselves in a frenzy to get where they’re going only to hold resentment for themselves and others at the end of the road. What is the point of being successful if it’s at the cost of enjoying your life?

Conversely, how can you enjoy a life in which you aren’t creating success in the areas that are most important to you, and or, rarely put yourself in a position to improve?

How do we set an internal boundary that might allow us to feel like a success every step of the journey toward success?

It’s a simple process, and one that requires consistent and continuous practice if you want any long-term benefits.

When we acknowledge our desire to score a goal, or seek to improve, we inherently see where we’re lacking, failing, etc. almost immediately.

Effectively, we place ourselves in “absence thinking.” We see the gaps in who we are NOT, what we DON’T have, and the negative space surrounding what’s important to us.

This is not bad. This is completely normal and okay. (Maybe read those last two sentences aloud to yourself so they really sink in).

Seeing the gaps in our improvement is essential to filling “the absence.” We assess a need and then put energy into changing our internal or external landscape so as to experience contentment within ourselves and our lives.

And sometimes, especially for those driven-to-an-early-grave types, the change may be as simple as re-framing what’s already there.

Let’s imagine wanting to take the first step toward a goal. Or taking the first twenty.

Predictably, here comes the stress, the questioning, the worries and the doubts about your own abilities.

They might sound like:

- Someday, I'll be there… I’ll be ready/arrive

- If only I had these skills… there must be something wrong with me...

- I'm not doing enough… if only I do more I’ll finally prove...

That’s where part two comes in--this is the part people forget.

Accept where you’re at. Accept who you are, and as a bonus, acknowledge what you have.

Acceptance is taking “what is so,” or in other words the truth of our current reality/situation, and making it OKAY—this normalizes our experience in the moment and takes the pressure off, reducing driven behaviors. So, it’s okay that you’re not where you want to be as of yet. It’s totally normal and expected. Come back into the present moment and give yourself the gift of a neutral narrative to operate from rather than one focusing on what is lacking, deficient, or absent in your past or your future.

It’s a bit of a dance, isn’t it? Seeing the gaps so you can achieve success and growth, and then being accepting of where you’re at to shift away from those same gaps.

Success is certainly its own skill set one can be successful at.

This is such an important skill to learn because do you really care about what you accomplish if you hate yourself and your life while you’re doing it?

The truth is, we can't always expect to get better at everything all the time and enjoy our life. We have to accept ourselves and where we're at along the way. Alternatively, we can't expect life to get better without putting in the effort to improve ourselves and grow.

By doing both, you create a little magic in the everyday that one might call being successful. So here’s a principle you might find helpful to align with.

Principle: Be dedicated to improving yourself and your life every day, AND, be dedicated to accepting who you are and where you’re at each step of the journey.

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