If you were to strip yourself of titles, job positions and education, what would there be? Under all those layers of accomplishment would there still be a person considered to be successful?
Society has taken great pains to define success not just by a person’s riches, but by the many accolades an individual possesses. Very often this definition is one-dimensional and equates to material possessions, fancy titles and wads of money. Think about all of those celebrities who have this and more, yet deep inside suffer from depression, engage in drug abuse and have legal problems.
So how exactly does one define success? Who determines whether or not you are successful? Whose validation do you need? Success means many things to many people and should never be a form of validation by others, but more about how you feel about yourself. Here are five tips for how best to embrace the meaning of success and help you move forward.
- Let Go of Pre-Conditioned Beliefs – Many Latinos have been conditioned either by their families or society (maybe even both) to believe that their heritage is a disadvantage. What this has done is subconsciously prevented Latinos from dreaming and doing big. Know that despite those “labels” and prior struggles, you have what it takes to be successful. Challenge those beliefs. Challenge yourself. Find your inner strength and go out and do what it is you want.
- Define Success On Your Terms – What does success mean to you? Answering this question may take some self-examination and deep digging. Update any prior definition to mean what it should mean to YOU. Don’t mimic that of someone else’s or let it be defined by others. We often get caught up with believing that unless we have overcome some tremendous challenges, our success is not as fruitful as someone who has endured hardship. Everyone has a unique story and when it comes to success we need not compare whose struggles were greater.
- Declare Your Success & Envision Yourself There – It is not enough to just “think” about how you want to succeed. Declare it! Shout it out! Write it down! Think about what you have accomplished and what more you’re able to do. Declaration allows you to see life from a broader perspective, see possibilities and help you understand what you need to change or improve upon.
- Break It Down, Set Goals and Create an Action Plan – In order to reach that next level in your life, you have to know what you’re working towards. You have to set goals. What are you hungry for? What do you envision yourself becoming? How are you going to make it happen? Answer your questions by making an outline of where you see yourself and creating a timeline. While you are encouraged to be as clear as possible with those goals, they don’t have to be perfect. You can always tweak them, but at the very least it will give you a sense of direction.
- Fail – Some of the most successful people say that failure has contributed to their success. The same can hold true for you. Learn from your failures. Avoid getting caught up in the all the reasons why you failed. Analyze the situation, identify the lesson and move on. The experience of failures makes us smarter, stronger and more than often mad enough to get up off our butts and make the impossible possible.
Our job is not to embrace success in a way that is limited by the conventional definitions spit out by society nor by accolades, but rather by the choice to do exactly what makes us happy. When you are excited about your existence, challenges and all, success is easier to attain. Success also involves having a positive impact on others and leaving a legacy of leadership. Whether that is your family, friends, colleagues or a segment of society, inspiring others is truly a testament of success.
I could not finish this piece without adding my perspective of what success means to me. I first need to share that my goal in life was to emerge from the obscurity and poverty in which I was born and rise to a state of affluence. I then wanted to show and encourage others how to do the same. I did this through education and by taking on some pretty tough jobs as I developed my career in Investment Banking. To that extent, my definition of success is a mixture of failure, struggle, survival, change of gears, ultimate performance and blood, sweat and tears (literally) – experienced all at the same time. At the core of my existence is a happy person who is excited about future possibilities. I don’t compare my success to anyone else’s nor do I go by what someone else thinks. Neither should you. Success is a unique journey, not a destination. It is your journey and therefore can only be formulated, executed and defined by the person whose opinion matters most: Yours.