“The first and most important step towards success is the feeling that we can succeed.” – Nelson Boswell
You know what it’s like, don’t you?
You check off your to-do’s and rush from one meeting to another. Then you schedule and reschedule to make things work.
Even though you did everything you set out to do, at the end of the day, you’re still not feeling successful in life. Recognition?
Instead of feeling proud and energized about your day – you feel tired and drained.
Because let’s face it. Success doesn’t feel like running from place to place. It doesn’t feel like constantly being behind. And certainly not like exhaustion and lack of time.
So, where did things go wrong?
That’s what I’ve asked myself several times throughout life.
Looking like success, but not feeling like it
Like that time when I was living in Paris and had a top marketing job that allowed me to travel the world and run massive projects. When I got the highest company rating and a promotion, I remember looking like a success – but not feeling like one.
Or that other time when I came back from a month in India and tried to incorporate the spiritual practice I had learned there at home. Even though, on the outside I was living a far more spiritual life than most people I knew – I felt stressed, disconnected and like I wasn’t doing enough. (Even though I did yoga and meditation twice per day!)
Not doing enough. Not being enough. Can you relate?
Some of the most successful people I know in life (which includes all areas, not just money on the bank) are also people I know doesn’t feel successful. And what’s the purpose of being successful if you don’t freaking feel it?
Now, why is this? How come so many of us don’t feel successful?
Good question. Glad you asked.
Here’s what I’ve come to realize: We’re putting the bar for feeling successful TOO high.
For example, these are some of the things I’ve considered HAD to be part of a successful week:
- Meditating and doing yoga 4-5 times per week
- Writing in my gratitude journal
- Walking 10 000 steps per day
- Having time for friends and family 2-3 days per week
- Going to bed before 10 pm (which btw, never happens)
- Sleeping at least 8 hours
- Waking up energized and ready to take on the world!
- Eating organic, home cooked and vegetarian food
- Making my business and work a success
- Loving every moment and everything I’m doing
- Have clean clothes and a tidy apartment
- Having time to chill
- Having time to party and mingle
- And so on…
Yawn, right? How fun do you think I was to be around?
And remember, this was the lowest bar – preferably I should have achieved above it. (Untz untz!)
No wonder I never felt successful, right?
Lower your bar for feeling successful in life
It’s not about adding more stuff to feel successful – it’s about removing.
Now you might be thinking, “But if I feel successful, then I’ll stop trying to achieve success?”
Just think about it, if you feel successful on a daily basis – isn’t that a feeling you’d want more of? Isn’t this something that would help you to actually achieve what you set out to do?
Compare that to the feeling of constantly failing. Like you’re always behind and never achieving what you set out to do. (Like me with the overload of to-do’s above).
Which state do you think will help you to reach actual success? And improve the areas in your life that you desire to upgrade?
If you’ve already tried the “setting-the-bar-too-high-and-getting-down-on-yourself-for-not-achieving-it” strategy and it isn’t working – it’s time to try something different. No?
Tony Robbins said, “The story you tell is the life you live.” If you keep telling yourself and feeling like you’re successful – guess what’s gonna happen to you? Yes, you might just end up feeling and being successful. Touché!
There are only pluses (no more minuses)
Now, let me be clear on something: I’m not telling you to lower your standards or goals. You’re a high-value person and your standards should reflect that. But, in order to live a successful life, it’s important to set yourself up for it – even on days when you simply don’t have a lot of time and energy.
This is how you get PULLED – not pushed into action.
My mom once told me this awesome advice: “There are no minuses, only pluses”. Which means, that whatever you do, beyond getting out of bed basically, gives you a plus.
If you meditate one minute in the morning – you get a plus.
Then if you eat a banana for breakfast – you get a plus.
Oh, if you’re nice to a stranger later on – you get a plus.
No more minus, getting down on yourself or setting the bar too high and stressing to achieve it all.
So tell me, how have you succeeded already today? What pluses have you achieved?
That’s the key to feeling successful in life.
Photo cred: Sofie Stenmark, Model: Victoria Carlsson