What does success really mean to you?

Success - Freedom. Connection. Impact.I distinctly remember the moment when my definition of “success” was shattered. To be honest, that was probably the true moment when my path to coaching began.

Here is the moment play by play. I am about 38 years old, sitting in the audience at a women’s leadership event listening to a Senior VP from a telecom company talk about her success as a female leader in the telecommunications industry. Now keep in mind, I am a product of the 80’s and I had been building my career with the mindset that women can succeed at work and at home and anything is possible for them. That is what I was striving for at the time, and doing a fairly good job of it. This woman epitomized the kind of professional woman I thought I wanted to be, so I was very excited to be in the audience soaking up her awesomeness.

The more I listened to her story about what she need to do to excel in a male dominated industry, the time she spent away from her family to dedicate to her career and the way she needed to show up in the world caused me to pause. To this day, years later I remember her saying that “if my children’s school can’t organize events more than 6 weeks out, then it just isn’t going to make it onto my calendar”. Yeah, boom. She was the example of success in my mind, and when I got a look at what it took for her to attain that type of success, I felt like a bubble burst for me. I left the event feeling confused and uncertain because this caused me to rethink what success meant and looked like for me. It was clearly working for her, and I was certainly impressed with her accomplishments (she was also a marathon runner and trained every morning at 5am no matter where she was in her business travels), but I realized I needed to redefine success for me.

Fast forward to today, and what I have learned about myself is that I do want to be successful, and consider myself a striving and ambitious person. But I want to do it on my terms, in my own way and with freedom, connection and impact as three key values to inform my success.

I want freedom in my schedule to make time for family and great vacations, and the freedom to choose the kind of clients I work with and the type of work I do.

I crave and thrive on connection with my family, friends and in my business with clients and partners. Feeling connected to others is something I value deeply.

I also want to know I am making an impact; on the people and organizations I work with. I want to do meaningful work that moves people and organizations forward. I think this will have a small impact on the world and that is my place in it, but I need to know that my time, energy and presence is having an impact on others, otherwise what’s the point.

So this is my new definition of success: Freedom. Connection. Impact. Tweet This

And if I had to name it my previous definition, it probably included words like status, money and achievement.

So what definition of success are you holding on to? Is it working for you, or is there a new version you want to embrace?

What I have learned over the years is that you get to write your own life story, and if something is no longer serving you, then have the courage to look at it and take control of changing it. You are the master or mistress of your destiny!