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Why you need to redefine success

The reason most of us are unhappy is that we are following someone else’s definition of success.

And I spent the first three-quarters of my life doing this same thing, trying to live up to the expectations of others. This almost led to my undoing.

When I finally changed the paradigm through which I was viewing the world, and my success in it, everything changed for me.

I was reading an article that reminded me of an older podcast featuring Amanda Palmer (NSFW, at the time of publishing), the musician, author, and artist who is redefining what it means to be a performance artist and entrepreneur.

She was talking about the moment when she redefined success. As a recording artist and songwriter, success was always determined by Billboard rankings, iTunes downloads, and Twitter followers.

The minute she realized that “success,” and more importantly, happiness, had NOTHING to do with those numbers, her perspective on life changed dramatically.

And that’s what I want for you.

Chances are, the definitions of success you are measuring yourself against are not necessarily yours. And look, I am not suggesting that you should ignore what your boss and manager expects of you.

But honestly, if what they expect of you isn’t in alignment with what YOU expect and demand of yourself, something isn’t right.

And that’s why you feel stress. That’s certainly why I felt like I was always letting people down. Trust me, that’s a hard way to slog through life.

So, change how YOU define success. What will get you moving when you wake in the morning? What will make you stop dreading Sunday evenings? What will make you stop counting the hours ’til 5pm on Friday afternoons? In other words, what will make you happy?

Set bold and aggressive goals for yourself, certainly, but set expectations of success that you really want, expectations that will make YOU happy.

Life is too short to be doing anything different.


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2 Comments

  1. Scott Scott

    Todd:

    It’s a great time of year to think about this topic.

    I’m making some sweeping changes to my personal protocol (trying bullet journaling to relieve some to-do list stress), setting OKR goals for myself and my company and re-evaluating what I want to spend my mental capital on.

    Having just fought through a serious illness, my perspective on all these things have evolved. It’s not about Steve’s 3 week vacation to Rio, or Dave’s new Tesla or Dan’s move into a bigger, nicer house. It’s about what makes ME happy (time with family, writing, taking photos, reading good books and eating delicious home-cooked meals with a nice Burgundy…).

    Keep doin’ what you’re doin’ – it resonates with many of us.

    • Todd Schnick Todd Schnick

      Amen brother. And honestly, I don’t really want to be in Rio for three weeks…

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