"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it." - Maya Angelou
Like many women of my generation, I was told I could achieve anything I wanted. With trailblazers like Janine Ellis, Sarina Russo and Ita Buttrose already lighting a path for women in the Australian business landscape, I strongly believed I could define my own spotlight and be successful.
However what is "success?" Too often money, fame and power are touted as the pillars of success. And if we don't achieve this golden trifecta, we can become consumed with envy of those who do. This is a concept which has been drilled into us subconsciously from a young age by childhood reward systems, like trophies and ribbons, and what is perceived as success in popular culture.
Being narrowly guided by this prism can leave many entrepreneurs feeling hopeless and lost, disengaged and left thinking "what's the point?" before giving up and returning to the corporate grind.
In reality, we need to understand that entrepreneurship and success are whatever you want them to be.
How we perceive success is pivotal for our happiness, and how we approach every day. In my experience, there is a lot of attachment on what others deem to be the pillars of success rather than actually achieving what they want.
We all have different definitions of entrepreneurship and we all have different definitions of success.
I believe it is essential there are a number of different perceptions, because if you can see success as achievable, you can actually go ahead and achieve it.
Success to some people might mean having that CEO position or getting paid a million dollars, while others define success as sitting in their study and just working as many hours as they want before going to their yoga class.
For me, success isn't about how much money you make, how loud you are or how much power you hold. Success is about inspiring others and the difference I can make in other people's lives.
Own your success
Owning my role as an inspiring and successful entrepreneur wasn't easy. So much of me resisted this idea of stepping into the spotlight until I had a revelation. It wasn't about me at all. It was about the people who I could share my knowledge with and how it could change their lives.
Many entrepreneurs, particularly women, find it challenging to own the spotlight. There are many blocks, whether it's like me with introversion, not believing you are good enough or afraid of what others may think.
This is because there is a lot of attachment to the word entrepreneurship and what it means to succeed. When the media and my peers started to referring me as an inspiring entrepreneur, I recall thinking, "Oh but I am not Arianna Huffington or Richard Branson, therefore I am not an entrepreneur."
However, I am an entrepreneur because I am a risk taker, I think up new ideas, I follow through with them, I try them even if they don't work, then I move onto the next thing.
Likewise, I am successful because I run a thriving business, I have helped thousands of people to become highly paid and sought after experts and thought leaders and I have made a difference in people's lives and their businesses.
Changing my perception of what I perceived success to be gave me a new drive and a better understanding of my business and what I wanted to achieve.
Entrepreneurs need to put success into their own context. Rather than listening to popular culture, shift your perspective to what is important to you. Not only does this help map out a vision for your business, but it helps overcome any limits which you believe have been imposed.
About the author
Catriona Pollard is the author of 'From Unknown To Expert', a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as thought leaders and influencers in their field. www.UnknownToExpert.com.
Catriona is also the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business. www.cpcommunications.com.au.