When we think about what we are proud of, and what we take for granted, pride is usually reserved for things that are often defined by others. Too often we overlook
things that we have done, skills that we possess, and accomplishments that we have already made, which do not fit into this narrow definition. This is when it becomes important to examine and redefine success. This involves looking into ourselves, looking at things with new eyes, and being the ones who define what success is, not what others define it as.
Often, I will have people in therapy make a list of 10 things that they are proud of, or that they have accomplished. Things they like about themselves, and that they have done. I make sure to add the caveat that no physical attributes can be on the list, as this is deeper and more meaningful than what is on the outside. Every time people grumble and say this will be hard. They dread the assignment.
Every time the person comes back to me pleased and shocked that they were able to do this when they finally opened themselves up to it, and that there were so many things they forgot, or don’t give themselves credit for. They keep the list, and many tell me they often refer back to it at the times they are questioning themselves, and that it gives them the motivation, confidence, and push they need.
Another important exercise is defining, or defining, what success means to us. Often, we base our idea of success on what others have shown us, or told us, success means. However, they do not realize that success truly means different things to each and every one of us. If we are trying to live up to others ideas of success, we may always feel let down, or that it does not fit. Also, even we achieve their definition, we may not have the feeling of accomplishment we could, as it is not in line with our genuine feelings of what success is.
If we take the time to step back and really think about what success, accomplishment and growth mean to us, we can make goals that are in line with those ideals. When we start to merge those ideas and develop goals that are directed towards achieving them, we will feel a sense of accomplishment that we may not have experienced before. This is because it is personally meaningful, and is in line what is important to us. We all have things we must do in our jobs and careers that required, but that does not mean that we cannot also be working on goals and projects in line with our personal developmental goals.
Then the question becomes, how we integrate what we are required to do, with what gives is this feeling and sense of accomplishment. Does your job have options that allow you to explore this growth? Is your boss open to you integrating some projects and goals that are meaningful to you into your workload and day? Are you at the right job for what gives you opportunities for success and meaning, or are you just at a job. The latter does not mean that you have no chance to work on your definition of success and accomplishment, it just might mean that you are working towards personal goals on your own time. There is nothing wrong with that, and many people do this. They do not feel like they are taking up free time and always working, because what they are working on is important to them and inspires them. That makes it feel like it is not work, but accomplishment and achievement towards their goals. Breaking things down into small and manageable tasks allows us to have small victories on a consistent basis.
So, take some time to really be honest with yourself and define what success and achievement mean to you personally. Ask yourself if there are changes you can make at your current job, have an open-minded boss, or if you need to create opportunities in your own time to work towards these personal goals and desires. Whatever that answer may be, it is a guarantee that you will feel more fulfilled, more in line with your personal needs and motivations, and more accomplished overall. So, don’t let others define success for you, blaze a trail and create your own definition. It will create opportunities or you and give you a sense of well-being and pride that you may not have experienced before.
Author Bio :
Dr. Nikki Martinez received her Masters and her Doctorate from Illinois School of Professional Psychology, and completed her pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellowship at Gateway Foundation in Lake Villa, Illinois. Head of Clinical Development for www.drnikkimartinez.com/. She is an Adjunct Professor for a graduate programs, a Blogger for the Huffington Post, lead contributor to Everyday Power Blog, Older Dating, Success Stories, All Love Women’s Talk, Sivana Spirit, Proud Stories, and a Contributor to the Chicago Tribune. She just published her 8th book through Amazon.com.
Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC
Website: www. DrNikkiMartinez.com