Everyone wants to be a success. As I see it, being able to succeed on your own terms is one of the big brass rings of life. Yet while many people sweat and toil on their quest to succeed, get ahead, have it all, and find happiness, they aren’t clear about what they are seeking. Armed with a vague notion of what success "should" look like, they hit the road of pursuit full speed ahead.

The problem with this approach is while it may feel great initially because you can say:
* "I’m in action"
* "I’m working hard"
* "I have priorities"
* "People tell me I’m on the right track"

You may not truly feel that you are on track to living the life YOU most desire. You find yourself going through the motions, wondering if there is "more" to life, or feeling the passion and motivation being sucked from your spirit. It may not be dramatic or happen all at once, but you wake up one day and wonder "how the heck did I get here?"

I should know - I’ve been there (and more than once!). Let’s face it society expects us to go to college while we’re still young pups, choose a field of study, and then enter the workforce in a profession we are supposed to then pursue (at least in theory) for a lifetime. Add to that the fact that society has only one definition of success: money + awesome stuff = success and you can see how we are set up to fail. I know for me I was unable to really define what success means to me for years. No one teaches us how to undertake this most important inquiry. If you’re not clear you leave your life, happiness, and success up to the whims of others which keeps it at arms reach, ever elusive.

My experience has been riddled with feelings like:
* "I don’t fit in"
* "Why is everyone else around me getting results and I’m not?"
* "There just has to be more to life than this"
* "When will I actually get to enjoy life or be happy?"

I felt hopeless, anxious, unhappy, and bordered on clinically depressed. I was extremely resentful because after all, I was told "If you work hard, get good grades, and do the right things, you will succeed." My life surely didn’t feel great. I didn’t feel successful. I wasn’t happy, wasn’t prosperous, and dreaded getting out of bed each day to spend the next 8-10 hours in a cubicle. I wondered when will I get my piece of the pie? Ever have any of these same feelings?

A long string of wake up calls and inner work led me to the inquiry of "How do I define success?" What does succeeding on my own terms look like? What equates to a "life well lived" for me?

Do you know what that looks like for you? I mean really looks and feels like? Not the prescribed "make $ X dollars a year, live in such and such a home, get married, and have 2.7 children". Not that there is anything wrong with having an income goal, finding a life partner, or being a parent. In fact for many people their primary relationship and being a parent is a critical element in their life purpose and definition of success. What I am getting at is that you need to consciously define what success means to you and what that looks and feels like. Here’s a hint - when you boil success down to its most meaningful definition, very few of the pieces you list will have to do with specific external circumstances. I guarantee you that feeling happy and successful will have far more to do with how you get to BE in the world than any specific thing you get to DO.

Comfortable in Your Own Skin Coaching Challenge:

Time to get clear on your personal definition of success. Even if you think you are already clear, I invite you to do the exercise anyway as a sort of tune-up. It is handy to revisit your definition of success regularly anyway to ensure you are still on track.

1. Go to a sacred space in your home our outside where you can get quiet and be uninterrupted.
2. Take some slow, deep breaths and just land in this sacred spot.
3. Ask yourself:
a. What are the top 4-5 things in my life that matter most to me?
b. What would success look like in each of these areas for me?
c. How can I cultivate this on a daily, weekly, monthly basis? (For example: if adventure is something that makes you feel alive and means a lot to you, you could plan at least one adventure a month. Or Another example: you may want to be an excellent parent so you schedule at least 30 minutes each day to be fully present with your child (no interruptions of any kind and no multi-tasking) and just be together, listen to them, play with them, etc.)
4. Write these answers down and then allow them to start informing the choices you make. Notice the shift that naturally occurs as you begin to focus on your definition of success vs. some vague notion of what success is handed to you by someone else or the collective mind.

Author's Bio: 

Paula Gregorowicz, owner of The Paula G Company, is a life and business coach who is passionate about helping women get comfortable in their own skin so they are able to fully value themselves and what they offer and as a result experience greater levels of personal and professional success. She works with them to gain the clarity, confidence, and courage to succeed on their own terms and live life by their own design. Get the Free eCourse and learn the "5 Steps to Turn Fear into Freedom" at www.thepaulagcompany.com