First of all, you need to ask yourself the question: ‘What does success mean to you?’ I have noticed that when I ask people this question, many don’t really have a straight answer… or raise their eyebrows and take a pause.
So, it is important to have a think about what success means to you (and only you) before doing anything. Moreover, it is probably also a good idea to jot a few things down, so that you can come back to it after you finish reading this blog.
I am sure we can all agree that having a system in place to monitor performance when executing a job can most definitely be useful to measure productivity, however, when it comes to how we gauge success in our life, the checklist approach is probably not the way to go.
In life you will be faced with many so-called dilemmas, which in turn will come with numerous variables – things that can work in your favour or against – and then it will be up to you to make a choice. Most of the time, this is easier said than done.
How do you make sure that you are the one making the decision and your decision is not solely based on other people’s contributions?
Quite often we allow that little voice in our head to tell us that ‘we better be normal’ or that ‘it is a safer bet to just fit in’. Many people ignore their desires and grant the pressure from society permission to influence their final decision.
You can make a conscious decision – on your own – by asking yourself the following basic questions:
- Is X or Y the right thing for me at this point in time?
- Is this decision going to make a positive impact on my life?
- Am I going to be happy?
- Am I going to learn something? (Now here is the good news: We always learn from anything we do!)
- Am I opening or closing doors for myself, by saying ‘yes’ to this event?
- How does this decision fit in with my long-term plan that I have set out for myself?
- Do I make this decision for me or is it to please the people around me?
- How is the decision I am leaning towards making me feel?
(Good vibes: go with it/ Doubt and feeling off: re-think/ Doubt and excitement can be confused…which brings me to the last point)
- Listen to your intuition. You have all the answers already within you.
Most of the time we do believe that the choices we are making are our own, but I can honestly say that me too I have fallen in the trap of taking steps because this was the right thing to do according to society’s norms, without asking myself the above-mentioned questions and I didn’t allow myself to go with what my gut was telling me.
I am even happy to admit that I did see red flags ‘clearly’(yes more than one) and nevertheless continued with certain decisions that I could still have gotten out of without bigger consequences at the time. But no, I simply ignored my inner voice because all looked good on paper. However, the reality was far from that initial ideal.
Of course, a few years later, now deep into the situation, the red flags were no longer flags – they were now gigantic blankets and impossible to ignore! So, now faced with a not so pleasant reality, I had to make another decision: the decision to change the course of my life completely! And so I did!
As mentioned before, everything in life turns out to be a lesson. So if you don’t get it right the first time, there will be a second chance – guaranteed. As any lesson you have to learn in this lifetime will keep coming back until it has been understood.
It is crucial that we are one hundred percent accountable for our choices and decisions, so there is no one to blame
This begins and ends with asking our self many questions and of course by being totally honest when answering them. Only this way, we can live life by what it is we want, not what others have in mind for us.
It is a sad truth that most people do live their life according to a success-checklist: Finishing high school; continuing their studies even though they have no idea what they want to do with their life in the future; finding a partner because they are ’already 27’; getting engaged; then getting married; buying a house; settling down; adopting a dog and of course not to forget having a baby or two or three.
If you don’t follow that pattern, you are seen as a weirdo and you often hear that there must be something wrong with you. I personally have stepped out of this paradigm a long time ago and I live my life, just the way I believe I should live it, spreading positivity, mindfulness and awareness. Furthermore, I feel blessed to have had the strength to step away from this sheep-like mentality and to be true to what is really important to me. In addition, what is true for one person might not necessarily be the same for another. We are all unique individuals and we should be respected for our uniqueness. I love it how outsiders have tried and still try to sell me their life choices, but I am over the moon with my own. I don’t judge them and I also don’t wish to be judged.
I have heard the craziest statements from people about WHY they made certain decisions: One young lady stated that she had a child because then she would have to work ‘less’ as she believed the husband would finally step up in the household. Of course, nothing was less true.
Another lovely soul told me that she was planning to get pregnant next year as she would be 32 and that was the age to get started with kids, especially if you want a few. Later on in the conversation she mentioned that almost every weekend, her partner gets so drunk he cannot behave himself, so she often has to take him home…I then asked her if she was sure about having kids with him as it seemed to me that she already had a child to watch and look after… . I also respectfully pointed out that raising kids should never be a one-woman’s-show, but a joint commitment.
Many people know deep inside that their decision might not have the outcome they had hoped for, but continue and go ahead anyway. The beauty of it all is that life will always find a way to make things work out, but wouldn’t it be nicer to be more aware, honest and mindful when we make a decision?
By doing this we can stand by our choices and OWN our future!