The Happiness Connection  

Success secrets

Are you successful?

Did an answer immediately spring to mind, or did you have to think about it for a while?

What criteria did you use to reach your conclusion?

What determines whether you’re successful?

That’s a lot of questions, but I encourage you to pause and think about your answers before you continue reading. Awareness is the first step to learning about yourself, so take a moment to consider your thoughts about this topic.

Traditionally, society has used material wealth as the currency for success. We’re taught that an expensive car, luxurious home, and designer clothes are all signs of accomplishment.

Of course, none of these things guarantee you have money. You may have maxed your credit cards or stolen the stuff you have. Maybe you’re living in a relative’s house and borrowing all their possessions.

This concept of success being intertwined with monetary achievements has caused me problems for many years. Perhaps that’s why the “fake it till you make it” philosophy bothers me.

If money equals success, then it’s suggesting you spend your cash on a good haircut, expensive clothes, and a manicure so you can fool people, including yourself, into believing you’ve triumphed.

I recognize this isn’t the only use of that statement, but it’s the one that tends to spring into my mind. Our culture leads us to believe we must display money to show we’re good at what we do.

During my married life, my spouse always made more than me. He was a lawyer, and I was a teacher. The wage discrepancy was huge.

When I took a few years off teaching to look after our young children, I struggled with working harder than ever before, but not having any money to show for it. It was as if my efforts didn’t matter.

When I was trying to establish myself as a speaker and writer, I had similar problems. My husband wanted me to stop and get a job. In his mind, I wasn’t successful because my business wasn’t profitable. According to his definition, I didn’t have a business; I had a hobby.

This stirred up memories of my days staying home with the kids. Feelings of not measuring up, surfaced. This is what happens when success is tied inextricable with money.

Don’t get me wrong. I love money. I’d like to earn lots of it. But if I don’t, that doesn’t make me unsuccessful.

Success is about achieving your goals. How you measure that depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Does money prove your marital or parental success? Does it have anything to do with personal or spiritual growth?

If your goal is to be rich, then the size of your bank account and the value of your possessions is a sensible tool for assessment. If you want to be happy, money isn’t a reliable measuring stick.

If, like me, you’re caught up in society’s belief that you have to have money to be successful, it’s time to be more conscious of what you want your experience with life to be like.

  • List your top three values.
  • List your top three goals.

If you want to add time frames and specify measurement tools, please do, but in my opinion that isn’t imperative. You’re assessing these for yourself. You don’t need proof to satisfy bosses, or management teams. You’ll know in your heart if you’ve made progress.

  • Are your goals in alignment with your values? It’s easier to be successful if they are.

If you value connection with others but set a goal to live as a hermit, you may struggle. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set that target but clarifying your reason for choosing it can be helpful.

  • Revisit your goals regularly to assess how you’re doing. If necessary, adjust or change them.

Instead of letting other people define your success, try taking control and doing that for yourself. Remember, money can’t buy you good health or loving relationships.

During those years as a stay-at-home mom, I was extremely successful, I just didn’t realize it. Today, I look at success differently.

I haven’t set an intention to be wealthy, I’ve set a goal to have a positive experience with money. I’d like that to mean I have lots of it, but I’m OK if that isn’t the case.

I’m looking to feel abundant with whatever I have.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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