By Julie Fuimano, Executive Coach
“You’re a successful man,” I remarked to my neighbor in a recent conversation.
Stunned, he asked, “What do you mean?”
I reflected back what I knew about him: “Well, you own your own house, you just bought a new car and you have your Harley – which is your pride and joy. You are happy with your work. You take regular vacations. You have many friends who you enjoy spending time with and you have a good relationship with your family. You’ve created a nice life for yourself. You’re happy with what you’ve created. That’s success.”
A few weeks later, he stopped by to thank me. He had never thought of himself as successful. Since I pointed it out to him, he reported feeling less stressed and more relaxed and was walking a little lighter. “I have a completely new outlook because you told me that I am successful.” He appeared very happy with himself. It seemed he was finally able to let himself off the hook.
He explained that he looked at what he didn’t have, i.e. no wife, no kids, as compared to his friends and therefore always thought he wasn’t living as good a life as them. At fifty, he thought those were the things that defined success. While he had no plan to change how he lived, he always felt ‘less than’ or that he wasn’t ‘good enough’ or ‘as good as’ other people. As soon as he embraced the idea that he could define success for himself differently, this led him to accept the decisions he’s made-and continues to make-and be happy with himself and his life as he travels along his journey. In doing so, he liberated himself from the burden of unrealistic, and in truth, illusory societal expectations of what success is supposed to be. He is no longer stressed about not being good enough because he is happy with his life and he no longer wishes things were different because he is quite happy with how he lives today; although, he admits, he’s still a work in progress. That’s Club Human, meaning, that’s just what it means to be a human being. Welcome to the Club.
It’s amazing how our comments can have such a profound impact in the lives of others.
Take a look at your life. Are you happy? If you define success for yourself, in what ways are you living exactly the way you want?
When do we stop comparing ourselves to others? Especially when what we see may not reflect the truth. Just because things look good on the outside, does not mean they feel good. “You cannot look at someone’s external circumstances and know what’s going on inside them.” (Quoted from The Journey Called YOU: A Roadmap to Self-Discovery and Acceptance.)
When do we stop should-ing ourselves? The fact is that if something should be different-if you were meant to be doing something else, you would be. So perhaps it’s time you let yourself off the hook.
Look at your life through a new set of lenses. What if instead of what you don’t have, you look at what you do have? What if you acknowledge how happy you are in your life? This means you’d have less to complain about. You’d have to give up your story of how bad you have it. You would have to stop others from complaining too and start having conversations that focus on what’s working in your lives rather than what’s not the way you want it to be. Perhaps you could even start focusing your conversations on envisioning what you do want. In this way, you dream about how things might be different and then you can create action steps to get there putting you in the driver’s seat rather than simply being a passenger in your life. This means you become proactive rather than reactive and live intentionally or on purpose rather than by default.
When you start to see yourself differently, you find that your energy increases. You feel better about yourself and the choices you make. And like my neighbor, you feel more at peace and content. You feel more in control of your life. After all, you got yourself here by your thoughts and decisions and actions. Your success is due to the choices you’ve made until this point in time. If there is something else you want to be, have, or do, then you can envision what you want and create a plan for accomplishing that. It’s very empowering to celebrate yourself and your accomplishments and to acknowledge all you do. You are wonderful! Isn’t it time you realize just how wonderful you are?
Julie Fuimano, MBA, RN is an Executive Coach with Nurturing Your Success Inc. She is passionate about partnering with people as they take the challenging journey to a new level of success. Clients report making better decisions, having more time for themselves, being able to say no to requests outside of their responsibilities and desires, being better able to manage emotions as well as conflicts, and an overall feeling of power and confidence. If you are discontent or frustrated with something in your life and are ready to give up the struggle for something better, or if you have a vision for success and want the courage and focus to make it happen, then contact Julie at (610) 277-2726 or write to Julie@NurturingYourSuccess.com to explore how coaching would work for you. If not now, when? Fuimano is a popular motivational speaker, world-renowned writer, and author of the life manual and confidence builder, The Journey Called YOU: A Roadmap to Self-Discovery and Acceptance--available wherever books are sold. Sign up for her inspiring e-newsletter at www.NurturingYourSuccess.com.
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