On nearly every podcast episode on the Academy, I start off by asking a simple question to set the tone —what is your definition of success?
And I love this question —because we’ve so often never defined it for ourselves and then:
This is why we start chasing things we never wanted and start to pursue what writer Steven Pressfield calls a ‘shadow’ life:
Sometimes, when we’re terrified of embracing our true calling, we’ll pursue a shadow calling instead. That shadow career is a metaphor for our real career. Its shape is similar; its contours feel tantalizingly the same. But a shadow career entails no real risk. If we fail at a shadow career, the consequences are meaningless to us.
So, what is a successful life?
Well, that’s up for you to define —and do the inner work to answer that question.
On this blog, I define success as the unison between two worlds —rousing fulfillment and unparalleled performance:
- Rousing fulfillment is the deep rooted feelings of peace, clarity, joy, enthusiasm and emotional freedom that comes when we know who we are, what we are and are aligned.
- Unparalleled performance is making a dent on the compelling horizon and striving to take an idea and turn it into something real, with the options and results we once thought were impossible.
It’s a mouthful —but I believe it’s what we’re here for.
And then I have a much simpler version:
Success is waking up with excitement every day:
And excitement to tackle the challenges in front of us, to lean into resistance and be of utility.
As Marcus Aurelius said in his brilliant Meditations:
And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands? You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you.
This is a great life.
This is a deep life.
This is a fierce life.
As we start a new chapter in 2021 —make sure you define success in three simple, yet crucial ways:
Define success long term.
This is your grander definition —connected to your North Star and acts as you a trusted compass to make decisions from.
Define success for this year.
Ask yourself —if this was the best year of your life, what would have to happen and who would you step into?
Define success for every day.
Last —find one tangible, real way to define success on a daily basis and ensure you’re able to clearly identify you stepped into it.
An undefined life is a random one full of distractions, uncertainty and comparison.
A defined life is an intentional one full of alignment, inner clarity and ownership.
Which will you choose?