Most of us have several successes under our belts, such as getting that job or promotion, hitting or exceeding a profit or fundraising goal, starting and sustaining our own businesses, and so on. Many of us also know how it feels to reach that big goal and think, Is this all there is? Somehow, the accomplishment doesn’t feel the way we thought it would. We still feel unfulfilled, longing for something more.
This frequently comes down to the definition of success we started with when we first began working toward our big goal. If we did not consciously think through that definition, to determine what success really means to us beyond the superficial achievement, we could easily find that the attainment of our goal is itself superficial.
Often, by the time we achieve what we set out to do, we discover that our dreams have changed, that we have changed. If we did not continuously reassess our path and ourselves along the way (see “Do You Know Where You’re Going To?”), we could end up exactly where we’re headed but not where we want to be now.
Sometimes the problem lies in thinking too small right from the start. We strive for visions that are safe and relatively easy to accomplish rather than taking a risk on the BIG dream that our visionary voice is telling us to pursue. The result? Not only do our successes never feel like enough, we often feel like we are not enough, which only feeds our fears and pushes us even more to take the safe route, to dream small.
In other words, by giving into your fears and playing it safe, you are feeding your fears, not lessening them. And in the process, you are robbing yourself of the passion you would feel every day if you were working toward a big vision of meaningful, sustainable success, of transformation, reinvention—of making a difference in your life, your work, your world.
Does your definition of success include what really matters to you? Are you thinking too small about your future?
Image credit: Photograph by Refracted Moments.