Tips for success are everywhere. Unfortunately, there isn’t a “one size fits all” model. But here are a few methods that have helped me feel successful, achieve my goals with a sense of pride, and celebrate my accomplishments — all without stepping on others or causing harm along the way!
1 | Define it.
You won’t know if you’ve achieved success unless you know what it means for you. Start by completing this sentence: “A successful person is someone who…” Pay attention to what sort of description emerges. Now you can shape your goals around achieving the results in your sentence. No one can decide what “being successful” means for you — except you.
2 | Be humble.
Don’t confuse being humble with being a shrinking violet. You can be assertive and actively go after what you want. You can speak your mind and make your voice heard, but you can also have humility as a character trait. Webster’s defines humility as “the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people.” Remember, a rising tide lifts all boats and you can’t do anything alone. Being humble means accepting when you’ve made a mistake and owning up to it, allowing yourself to be human, imperfect, and vulnerable. Still not convinced? Check out self-described “vulnerability researcher” Brené Brown’s TEDxKC talk on The Price of Invulnerability. (It’s a bit different than her viral Houston talk — have a look.)
3 | Be grateful.
Big thinkers in the field of positive psychology, like those working at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, have research that shows people who actively practice gratitude are more resilient. They’re better equipped to bounce back from the inevitable challenges that life throws their way. They’re happier— which is probably intrinsically linked into your definition of success. There are lots of ways to practice gratitude: it can be as simple as keeping a journal where every day you write down a few things that you are grateful for. The important thing to realize is that gratitude is a practice — so take steps to actively make it a regular part of your life.
4 | Laugh at yourself.
Life is tough — there’s no escaping that. Cultivating an ability to take life a bit less seriously while looking at things from a broad perspective that makes you and your issues just a little less important, can be very liberating. That’s not to say that when a serious crisis hits, you should simply laugh it off. But rather, when there’s unfinished work, an appointment you’re running late for, a friend or spouse who forgets something that’s important to you, or any other of the hundreds and thousands of things that can get us worked up into a “this is the end of the world” scenario — pause. As one of my life mentors told me, take a step back and look directly into the invisible video camera filming your life, and say, “Can you believe this sh**!?!” Everything passes. Taking yourself — and life — a bit less seriously can help you reach your success goals in a way that puts a premium on compassion and humor.
5 | Compete against your best self.
One of the quickest ways to demotivate yourself and get down on your achievements is by comparing yourself to others who you deem “more successful” than you. Remember: success is something that you define and achieve. So don’t measure your own personal success against that of others. Instead, use your best self to determine your benchmarks for personal success and how to continue reaching your goals. This doesn’t mean you can’t choose mentors and role models who you admire and whose work you aspire to, it simply means that you recognize you have just as much right to succeed as anyone else. Don’t stand in your own way — be your own best cheerleader. Here’s to your personal vision of success!