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“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.?

Steve Jobs

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How do you measure success?  I heard this question a couple of days ago and couldn’t stop thinking about it.  Aren’t we all striving for success in some fashion or another?  Isn’t it what drives us every day to do something or be something we’ve never been before? Or maybe for some people success is just being alive another day. Whatever it is, it’s definitely different for everyone, and we measure it by our own individual metrics.

One thing I’ve come to realize, after years of chasing the approval of people as a way of measuring success (be them corporate managers, personal friends, acquaintances, or others), is that whatever short term ‘success’ that may have seemed to be gained from their approval, fades away quickly. Leaving me disappointed, feeling like a failure, and not successful. The good thing I’ve come to realize is that if I stop looking to external sources to measure my success, and start looking internally, there are a lot of successes to celebrate and be proud of.  Successes like completing college, paying off college, having the courage to move thousands of miles away from family, friends, and everything familiar, by myself, to make a new life; saving and purchasing a home; getting out of debt; getting married; staying active and healthy; etc. The list is different for everyone, but the message is the same.  Recognizing our worth professionally and personally and the unique strengths we bring to the table is what it’s about. Success isn’t about what someone else thinks about you, it’s what you think about yourself.

Have you ever been in a job or relationship where you’ve worked hard, hustled, tried to see things from different angels, and put enormous amounts of energy into it in an effort to move the needle only to see very little or nothing change? Most people have. I’ve certainly been in my share of those situations over the years. I love this quote by Warren Buffett, “Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” 

After you’ve tried everything else, sometimes it’s best to just change boats.

Change Boat

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In sticking with the mountain climbing theme; have you ever made the choice not to go after something you wanted because that mountain looked too high to climb?  For example, deciding not to put in the time, effort and resources necessary to change careers, get a new job, try a new sport, or start a nutrition and exercise program to lose weight.  It can be like snow skiing or mountain climbing; when at the bottom looking up, the mountain looks daunting, almost impossible, dangerous, too high, and too scary to climb.  But just maybe, you are imagining the mountain is higher than it actually is because of past experiences (prior failures) or people (negative, unsupportive) in your life who have told you you’ll never be able to make it to the top.  So you don’t even bother starting.

Instead of measuring how high the mountain is before you attempt it, go for the climb anyway and make that assessment afterwards.

Doug Hammarskjold summed it up this way, “Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top.  Then you will see how low it was.”

Don’t limit yourself and what you can achieve in life by thinking you are unlucky, you’re not smart enough, not rich enough, etc.  Go for it!

For more, you can get a copy of Your Ultimate Life Vision on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle versions.

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Art by Christine (Parrish) Barker. © Christine Barker. All rights reserved.

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© Christine (Parrish) Barker and Your Ultimate Life Vision 2018. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this Blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Christine (Parrish) Barker and Your Ultimate Life Vision with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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