As a career coach and researcher of working women's work-life issues, I've embarked on a national research study on Women Succeeding Abundantly, in order to learn first-hand the essential ingredients in thinking, beliefs, choices, and behaviors that create and maintain "knock-your-socks-off success" in women. I'm learning from women who have the courage to raise their hands today and say, "Yes! I feel tremendously successful on my terms, and I have found the way to live life joyfully and with great gusto."

Why is this topic important?

Because from where I sit there are precious few people on earth today who achieve a continual state of "feeling" successful, who know down to their toes that they are successful and don't need external measures to continually validate it. And there are even fewer people who see their lives as a fantastic adventure in success rather than in failure.

I'm drawn to learn as much as I can from women who say "Yes I Am" abundantly successful, because I believe that when we feel successful in terms that are personal, meaningful, and self-defined, then we're living a grand life of passion, power, and purpose, and having a ball doing it. We're following the dictates of our own values, beliefs and priorities, and we're shaping our destinies as want them, not as our prior conditioning, training and cultural influences taught us are "right."

The first step I'm taking is to immerse myself in new learning. The second step is to reshape what I hear into a model that makes sense for me, and fits what I know to be true.

What I know to be true right now is that financial abundance is not the only way through which one can feel abundantly successful. However, in our society which is immersed in the energy of money, if you want financial abundance and have not been successful achieving it, then an internal feeling of success is virtually impossible - unless you intentionally create a shift within you that, in turn, allows for greater success.

So I've started there, understanding women's relationships with money, success, achievement, recognition - the outer measures. I'm then peeling the layers down to look at the inner experiences and practices that abundantly successful women embrace and nurture to access their own power and success.

What is Necessary for a Successful Life Experience?

Here's what I've learned in conducting this study and guiding my own life and those of my clients to greater success:

1. Nurture success
Without a consistent nurturing of your own internal feelings of success, the external measures of success won't come to you (or if they do, they'll be fleeting, come with struggle and strain, or feel deeply disappointing when they arrive). Find a way to reconnect to your internal knowing that you are indeed successful (despite what your outer situation is presenting in this moment).

2. Feel What You Long For and Know Why You Do
After establishing a practice of getting in touch with your internal success experience and embracing the fact that you have the power to improve your life situation, you must then understand what you truly want to create in your life, and know why you want it. Validate your longings -- make yourself right instead of wrong for wanting them. (Usually, when people do this work, they realize they've been severely limiting themselves and want to break free of the box they've put themselves in. Sound familiar?)

3. Take Heart-Aligned Action
After knowing what you want to create, take action towards creating that reality. But this is where most of us get tripped up. Action of the wrong kind will keep you stuck and spinning. Instead, take only action that is heart-and-soul aligned. How do you know? Heart-aligned action feels right, or good, or relieving as you take it. It's an outgrowth of who you really are. Never take action out of duress or desperation if you can avoid it - wait to take action until it feels right, or brings relief, or better yet, joy. Take action that supports what you know to be true.

4. Love the Process
Then, as life unfolds, learn to love the process of transition, change, and uncertainty, and get out of your own way of habitual attachment to what it "should" and "must" look like. So many folks want the outcome to be completely assured before they set out on the journey. It's not going to happen that way, so relax, surrender, and enjoy the ride. Stop resisting and starting learning from your experiences so you can shape them into successes.

Make sense?

So let's start now by getting in closer touch with our own internal relationship with success.

Ask yourself these questions today:

1) How do I personally define "abundant success"?

2) Deep down, do I truly want abundant success, or does the idea of having it intimidate or scare me? If so, what keeps me from wanting it?

3) How often do I feel successful in life and work?

4) If I feel less than successful most of the time, what specifically contributes to that "less-than-successful" evaluation of myself?

5) Finally, ask yourself, "What can I do today to begin to "feel" more successful internally. What steps can I take to remember and connect with all the ways that I HAVE been successful throughout my life and today, and to embrace more success going forward?"

I'm seeing the truth behind abundant success and here it is - it's not as hard as you think it is to have it. It takes some revising of what you've been conditioned to think about how success occurs, along with some new access to your authentic emotions, courage to grow, validation of your deepest longings, new heart-aligned and planful action, and finally, a good dose of surrender. That's not much, but it's everything.

I'd LOVE to hear your thoughts about your experiences with abundant success, and what you know to be true about you and success. Please share your insights on my success blog post at - teach us about your experiences!

Thank you for sharing, and here's to our many breakthroughs to abundant success!

Author's Bio: 

Kathy Caprino, MA, is a work-life expert and author of Breakdown, Breakthrough: The Professional Woman’s Guide to Claiming a Life of Passion, Power, and Purpose (Berrett-Koehler, Nov. 08). A national champion for professional women in crisis, Caprino is a trained psychotherapist, specialized career and life coach, and sought-after writer and speaker on women’s issues. She is founder and president of Ellia Communications, Inc. and a former corporate VP, who today openly shares her own story of breakdown—and breakthrough.