"What does success feel like?" asked the Russian psychologist with whom I found myself walking in a dog park. Needless to say, since Shaggy (my rescue wheaten terrier) has come into my life, I've met some interesting people. Since our dogs were playing, Vladimir and I started chatting. I told him about my book and we started talking about working hard, not having a work-life balance and that's when he asked me that question.
I had to pause and really think about my answer. It's relatively easy to talk about what success looks like. Having a nice house, a great car, a family that loves you and enough money to live comfortably would likely be typical answers. But that's about what you have, not about how you feel.
As Americans, we measure success by what we have. If you work hard, you'll be able to buy an Audi. But once you have it, after awhile you start thinking it'd be nice to have a Mercedes. If I work harder, then I can upgrade...and so on. If you're working so hard, do you have a god quality of life? If you took away all the material items, what is a measure of success?
Is success sitting with your family, having a wonderful meal and feeling that just shy of being too full feeling? Is it feeling the sun on your face as you watch your child playing and having fun? Is it being able to sleep late on Sunday morning? Is it snuggling with your dog while he looks at you with so much love in his eyes? What makes you feel content, happy, complete?
Maybe for you it includes a car, a house with a pool or a designer handbag. But I'm willing to bet that it involves something a lot more priceless. Because it's less tangible, it's easier to forget and lose sight of. You get caught up in a race, looking for that item that can validate all of your effort. See, I have a new car. It was worth it. But a hunk of metal can't love you back or fill you exhausted energy tank or make you have a great relationship with your spouse. Why can't success be the same as happiness?
What does success feel like to you?