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  • Gladys Agawi

Why You Must Redefine Success!

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” Maya Angelou




Every person grows up with certain ideas and beliefs about what it means to be a successful, contributing member of society with good moral character. Your family, school, society, and culture taught you about the “dos” and “don’ts” of life, and you internalized that and practice it throughout adulthood. Society often dictates what success means to its citizens, such as making a six or seven figure annual income and job title, with a focus on family being secondary.


Women are often held to a different standard, with focus placed on earning high salaries that are less than men’s while maintaining household and family responsibilities. As people journey through life, more are realizing that what they allowed society to dictate is not the right fit. Yet, out of fear they have been domesticated by society to continue to force fit their square peg into a round hole. It will never fit. You must find your square hole.


It is important to listen to the wisdom of others especially as children and young adults. But it is equally and many times more important to listen to yourself and understand what is important to you within all the guidance and direction given. You must understand what success means to you while redefining your reality of success.


Do you know your values and purpose in life, your calling, and what brings harmony and motivates you daily? Do you want balance in your key life areas: health (phys-ical, mental, and emotional), love (single or married), friends, family, and work relationships, work satisfaction, passions, and service to others?


Redefining success considers your circumstances as they change, which frees you from needing to achieve everything now. In the modern view of success, more people are speaking about how success at work is not fulfilling and many are quitting as a result. I know of those who quit their job, making less money to finish school, form a non profit or small business, or work for smaller organizations. Others are turning away from marriage, children, and the traditional family unit or delaying it to redefine what family life and happiness mean to them. And they are not seeking anyone’s approval. This breaks the stereotypes and offers a more individualized approach. Richard Branson, one of the most successful business magnates of today, says: “True success is measured by how happy you are”.


The end of the calendar year forms a natural opportunity to pause, reflect on what you have achieved, and set your goals and intentions for the coming year. It is a perfect time to ask and answer, “What does success look like?” Once done you can set your plan to act. Take this perfect opportunity to do the following:


• Overcome your bad habits to avoid being in the 92% of those who do not achieve their goals.

• Chart your course to then navigate getting to your destination.

• Stay focused by reducing distractions and finding pockets of focus times throughout the day.

• Organize your life to avoid wasting time and money to think more clearly and calmly.

• Find inspiration, be open to possibilities, and form new ideas.

• Capture your ideas to get them out of your head.

• Practice adaptability to control how you react to change.

• Master self-discipline to reset and recalibrate through disruption.


Everyone wants to be successful, but few people take the time and energy to define the success they want. As a result, they spend most, if not all, of their lives chasing what society superimposes on them as success. In ancient eastern psychology, this concept is known as the hungry ghost which is an endless stomach that keeps eating until sick never feeling full. The hungry ghost wants more money, more prestige, a better car, and more admiration, but they are never satisfied. Consumerism relies on the hungry ghost in everyone. Too often when not fulfilled, people numb themselves with alcohol, drugs, food, porn, and television. You can choose different by stepping back and reflecting on what you want and your willingness to achieve it.


Success can also be measured in small yet essential ways, like, standing up for yourself and not suffering quietly, taking risks, changing habits, overcoming challenges/obstacles, persistence, finding joyful experiences, and being a good person.


Success is not something you reach outside of yourself to receive. Success is creating a life you want to live in right now. Success is about stepping back and defining what you want. And then doing what you can to align your actions—the unfolding process of your life. It is in this way that you own and redefine success.


“We make the grave error of redefining partial success as ‘failure’. Stephen Guise


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