Funny how our definition of success can change.
What was your definition when you were 20? What about today?
When I was 18, my dream was being able to afford an appetizer at a restaurant.
When I was 25, I LOVED being able to take my friends out for drinks and buy an entire round without thinking twice.
Now, it’s about my team and developing them.
Today, I think my greatest accomplishment might actually be learning how to cook eggs. Look at this. Damn I’m good.
Correction: I win “best improved eggs”
When’s the last time you set and met a goal for YOU? It can be silly (like cooking eggs) or serious (like taking a year-long sabbatical).
I’m not talking about the goals that are set FOR you. I’m talking about something you want for yourself.
Think about all the goals that society sets for us:
- In our 20s, we’re expected to chase money and/or fame via our careers
- In our 30s, we’re expected to “settle down,” buy a house, and have kids (right after we’ve totally 100% decided on our career choice, of course)
- In our 40s, we’re expected to focus on stability and family
- By the time we get to our 50s and 60s, we’re expected to focus less on ourselves and more on our community and family. What about meditation?
In reality, you can easily follow this template and be totally fine. It’s actually a pretty good life!
But what if you want to be different?
I’m talking about your goals. The bold moves, the things you want — but society doesn’t talk about. The goals you don’t tell your friends about because they sound crazy. When is the last time you did something like that?
If the answer doesn’t make you happy, this gets into some pretty uncomfortable territory.
Why do we ignore our goals?
It’s easy to follow others’ expectations. Sometimes, it’s MUCH easier to go with the expectations (and rationalize it later) than it is to define success for yourself (and figure out how to actually get it).
We all know these people:
- The people who go to grad school because they don’t know what else to do. “It makes me more marketable”
- Or the people who study a certain subject because their parents force them. “My parents wanted me to be an engineer, and it sounded as good as anything else”
- Or the couple who buys a house because it’s a “good investment,” and not because they actually want to
Then they wake up years, maybe decades later wondering what happened.
It’s scary to decide what you want for yourself. Fear of failure is a very real problem, especially for ambitious people. We’re talented, we’ve been told how smart we are our whole lives, and now we’re supposed to “prove” it by achieving our goals. Gulp.
Suddenly, putting off your big project — and potential failure — one more day doesn’t sound so bad.
You can’t have success without failure. I’ve had to learn how to get over my own fear of failure as I’ve built my business:
What if you don’t actually know what you want? After you accomplish one of your goals, it can feel good for a while. But eventually a little voice will nag you and ask “what’s next?” That can be scary. But even scarier: What happens if you have NO IDEA what’s next?
I know people who — if you got them in a real conversation and asked them what they actually wanted to do with their lives — would look at you blankly. “I have no idea.” It’s hard to make those kinds of decisions after decades of living someone else’s goals.
So how do you find out what’s next? How do you know if you’re settling instead of going for what you’re truly capable of?
Three traps: Easy. Scary. Unknown.
The worst part is sometimes we don’t even know when we get stuck in one of these traps.
But a true Rich Life is one where you set the goals and directions on your own terms. It’s one where you know your motivation and don’t apologize for it.
Is that hard? YES!
Is that scary? YES!
Is it worth it? Are you willing to find out?
So my question for you: What’s the version of success you want but are too afraid to pursue?
Let me know below.
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