I love being successful, as I’m sure many of you do, too.
Success means different things to different people. Success for many means more money or higher rankings at work.
Now I want to add a big fat disclaimer right here and now: there is nothing wrong with wanting more money, a big house or to become the CEO of a huge company if that is your dream. I love making money, and I love being an entrepreneur; I am not going to apologize for it and neither should you.
But right now I’m not speaking about that. What I am referring to is the underlying motivating factor that drives you to want success.
What is driving you? What is motivating you to wake up each day and demand more and more from yourself and your results?
How much more money do you need to earn? How many more promotions do you need to achieve? How high of a ranking do you need to attain until you feel satisfied? How much is enough?
These may seem like obvious questions, but they are important ones, as they can literally completely change your approach to life. And the thing is they are usually pretty sneaky, and you don’t even realize what you’re doing until you are fully immersed in it!
Examples of how we are driven by fear:
When you wake up in the morning and think of work, what are your first thoughts? Do you think about impressing your boss or doing something to get recognition? If you are, chances are you are driven by fear. Yes I know…we do have to report to our boss or clients, but we should be focused on adding value to the task and not solely on gaining recognition.
When we focus on making a positive difference to the world—whether dealing face-to-face or just being part of a production process—then our actions will match our thoughts. That means our driving force is positive and not out of fear that we have to impress our bosses and clients.
How much is enough
Wanting more cash and being a success at work is great, but it becomes a problem when we reach our goals of financial stability, or whatever it was, but we still focus on more and more and more. More clients, more money and more success.
The truth is, many folks in those situations have forgotten their true driving force and are now obsessed with their own success; enough is never enough. They are being fueled by their own ego and power status rather than their core values.
A telltale sign is when these people begin to forego family time with their children and/or partners, and their relationships begin to suffer as a result of them solely pursuing results. Success becomes a craving about recognition, status and celebrity.
Motivated by others
Fear masks itself in many different forms. Quite often, it occurs sub-consciously, which means we are not even aware of it. Common examples are when we derive our motivation for success from other people. When we are motivated simply to gain recognition from others, we are living in fear. Common examples would be to prove the naysayers wrong or to prove our parents wrong.
We pursue careers that we don’t really want to be in (which is what happened to me), or we have this insatiable appetite for more money and more workplace advancement in order to sub-consciously make our parents proud—or other subconscious motivations.
Why do we do all of this? At its most basic level, we feel the need to gain recognition from others. It is our inner child acting out in an adult’s body. We need that recognition from our parents, friends and peers to tell us that we have done well, that, yes, we are a success.
This is simply our inner voice telling us that we are not good enough until we hear those words or get recognition—and even then recognition becomes a moving target.
So how do we avoid that? First, remember that success means different things to different people. It doesn’t necessarily mean more money. Success could be just being true to yourself and pursuing the career you always wanted to pursue, or leaving an abusive relationship, or deciding that you will no longer live the life your parents wished for you—perhaps simply just taking that first step.
Secondly, we can stop trying to please others. By all means, make lofty goals and aim for more money and more promotions, but don’t focus on that alone, and don’t let that be your driving factor. Rather, aim to make a positive difference by being the best you can be each day at work and by focusing on making an impact on other people’s lives first.
Money and promotions come naturally after that. Want to make more money? Then focus on serving more people and adding more value to people’s lives.
Finally, be motivated by your own true purpose and passion in life, rather than a ranking, job title or pay check. Living a life of purpose and passion means that no matter what happens you are still being authentic with yourself.
When we base our ambition off of our rank, title or pay check, what happens when that is taken away by some event in our life? Typically people end up suffering because they allowed those things to define them.
You are not defined by your rank, the amount of cash in your bank or the number of followers you have on Facebook. Those are not authentic benchmarks to live a life of purpose, passion and fulfillment.
The takeaway is this: follow your purpose and passion in life; take the focus off of “more” and place it firmly on helping others and making a positive difference in as many people’s lives as possible.
Author: Hayley Hobson
Editor: Caroline Beaton