What does success look like to you?
For some people, success can mean getting into a good school. Others may define success as having a happy and healthy family. While some may view success as landing a dream job or doing creative work full-time.
No matter how you define it, it’s always important to find a way to connect with your success.
When we connect with our success, we find a deeper meaning and a sense of purpose. This connection can help you stay motivated and give you a greater, more meaningful reason to succeed.
For example, Olympic athletes stay motivated by trying to challenge themselves, rather than just simply vying for the gold medal. Or business leaders use their success and platform to try to help others. Creatives use their work to help others feel seen and heard.
Connecting with your success can mean…
- Testing your limits and self-perceptions about what is possible
- Using your success as a springboard to help others
- Doing something creative
- Finding joy in your work
- Appreciating your achievements
And so much more.
Below we look at different ways to help you find more meaning in your work and connect with your success on a more fulfilling level.
Recognize your strengths
When’s the last time you did your own performance review?
We work day in and day out, but we don’t always take the time to examine what we’re doing right or appreciate how much we’ve grown.
At the end of the day or week, take a look at what you did well. You can go through emails or conversations you’ve had with coworkers, and jot down compliments you received or take note of things that went your way. Maybe you’re proud of the way you steered a big meeting. Or satisfied with how you resolved an interpersonal conflict. Or maybe you were super efficient with your tasks and submitted your work early.
Do this exercise regularly and you’ll start to get clarity on your strengths, which you can then turn into your superpower.
When you make your strengths even stronger, you’ll have an entire toolbox from which you can draw from.
And not only is this helpful for your career development, but being aware of your strengths is also incredibly empowering. You may not have even realized that you have a knack for public speaking or making decisions under pressure or getting everyone to work as a team.
Being aware of your strengths can motivate you through the highs and lows of your professional journey, and help you overcome challenges as you move forward in your career.
Find room for improvement
So we know that it’s important to recognize our strengths. But it’s also equally important to take a look at where we can improve.
Of course, this part is never fun or easy. But rather than seeing this as a negative critique, use this exercise as an opportunity to see where you still have room to grow. Learning is a good thing. Otherwise we’d just remain stagnant our entire lives.
So take a look at the past week or month. Where do you think things could’ve gone differently or better? Maybe it was a presentation that didn’t go over that well. Or you missed an important deadline.
Reflect on these moments and try to come up with ways that you could do things differently in the future. If the presentation didn’t go well, maybe you can practice in front of a coworker next time. If you missed a deadline, maybe it’s time management you can work on or delegating a task.
If we didn’t have room for improvement, our goals and dreams would get stale pretty quickly. Knowing that we have ways to improve and grow can inspire us to challenge our limits and find new ways to succeed.
Celebrate your wins
What do you do after achieving a big goal? Do you enjoy the moment? Move onto the next goal or victory?
An important aspect of goal-setting is to take the time to sit back and celebrate your wins. Otherwise, if we don’t take this time to acknowledge our success, we may never feel fully satisfied. We go after the next goal and the next. Looking back on how far you’ve come will make you enjoy the journey and appreciate the process even more.
It’s also essential to celebrate the micro wins you achieve along the way. Success rarely happens overnight. It’s the little things we do everyday that eventually have a big pay off.
Recognizing your success, big or small, will sustain your momentum and energize you to keep going.
Define your intention
Many people like to come up with an intention or a theme at the start of the new year. An intention like “Be bold” or “Dream big” can serve as a compass and help you move more purposefully throughout the year.
You can also create an intention or a mantra for your own work. What do you want to accomplish this year? What empowers you? What are the values that are important to you?
Then, whenever you find yourself dealing with a professional challenge, you can go back to your intention to help guide you. For instance, let’s say you’re having trouble making a decision about a career change. You can refer to your intention “be bold” to navigate this decision and connect with your work.
Strengthen your relationship with others
When success is tied to an intrinsic motivation or a deeper purpose you will find greater joy. Rather than chasing after promotions or financial gains, which can leave you feeling empty after a while, aligning your success with others can be motivating and satisfying.
In this Harvard Business Review article, writer John Coleman suggests asking yourself reflective questions like “Who am I serving in my work?” and “How am I becoming better each day?” Taking the time to really think about how you can impact others, will help you connect with your work in a more profound way.
In doing this exercise, you could also make a list of people who have impacted your life: coworkers, managers, teachers. Or a list of people you admire: entrepreneurs, CEOs, authors. And reflect on the personal and professional qualities you admire and the ways in which they have helped their communities. You can use these lists as a reference as you try to emulate their positive contributions and reflect on how to be a better friend, colleague, or community member.
Ultimately your success will be defined not so much by your professional accolades and gains, but in the ways that you have helped other people.