What does real success feel like?

I was 9 years old when I was transferred from dancing to basketball. I was tall so it was decided that basketball was going to be best for me. When I made my first basket in a real game against another team, my coach was happy and my team was happy. I got a lot of pats on my shoulders that day to acknowledge my success. But how did I feel?

I felt relieved (it took me a while to hit the target), but not happy. And certainly not successful. I didn’t feel a flame of joy ignite in my heart or a deep satisfaction that all the hard work had paid off. All I felt was being glad that I met the expectations of my team. My heart wanted to dance on a dance floor, not sprint on the basketball court and fight for the ball with other girls.

I felt similarly a few more times in my life. Any time when I got myself into pursuing goals which didn’t come from my heart, but were driven by something else – be it a rational decision, expectation of others or a need to be liked, I often found a huge disproportion between how others felt about my achievements and how I felt about them myself.

When we reach a point that others celebrate our successes but we don’t feel like there is much to celebrate, it is a good time to stop and do some reflection on our life and what is really important to us. The key to real success is to know ourselves and our life purpose, have a vision and authentic goals.   

Real success is a profound feeling of joy and gratitude for what we were allowed to achieve. When we feel that we are on purpose and contribute to something greater than we are. We don’t need to be told that we are successful, we know it and enjoy it. Real success is like a fuel – it inspires and motivates us to give even more of our best selves. To the contrary, achieving goals which are not ours usually leaves us depleted, bitter and frustrated.

True happiness is the best indicator of the real success. True happiness will let us know that we are on purpose and that our achievements are aligned with our deep truth and values.

What are the real successes of your life?
What can you do today to experience even more of real success?
Is there an area of your life where you are pursuing goals which are not yours?

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