THE BLOG
08/06/2013 03:48 pm ET Updated Oct 06, 2013

How to Be Successful: Look Beyond Your Bank Account

What's the most energizing thing in your life? My bet is that it's success.

You know what I mean.

You just closed a major deal. You just launched the product on time and the market went crazy. You've just been promoted. You just got married to your dream guy or gal.

Go ahead, sit there for a moment and remember how that feels. Energizing right?

Success Gives Us Energy!

One of the biggest energy drains I see (even amongst "successful" people), is focusing on failures. Feeling like you are failing, or even worse, feeling that you are a failure, drains your energy fast. (I want to note that while I believe and know that failure leads to success, I've found it takes energy to make failure energizing.)

Now before you set off to slay a dragon to demonstrate your success and boost your energy, let's step back a moment. What is success?

We live in a culture where success is defined in monetary terms. As much as we can try to distance ourselves from that reality, it creeps up on us and drives us to work ourselves into the ground. Money equals success is in the blueprint of our beliefs.

The problem is this belief is all wrong. Don't worry, I'm not suggesting that money has nothing to do with success. It does. The problem comes when we believe money is the ONLY measure of success. That's what drives overwork, stress, imbalance and burnout.

One trick I use with clients to help them reignite their lives is to evaluate and expand their definition of success. This is something I've had to do for myself. I will be honest -- it's not a one-time exercise. Defining your success metrics and reminding yourself of your success metrics, is a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly exercise. The more we focus on our expanding definition of success, the deeper it becomes and guess what? The more successful and energized we become.

Monetary successes rarely come to us every minute of the day. The space between our successes leaves a vacuum to focus on our failures. By expanding our definition of success, however, to include other aspects of our lives, we fill our days with success and thus with energy.

So where do you begin to create your definition of success? I could give you various categories to evaluate (e.g., relationships, spirituality, health, etc.). I could tell you to start with your life values. There are various exercises I want to share -- the ones I find work with your soul and leave you buzzing with energy (honestly, writing down values is not exactly an energizing activity).

50 Ways I Am Successful

Last year I was at a seminar where the teacher suggested we write down 50 ways we could generate money. Sounds easy until you try it. The first five to 10 were easy. But then I struggled. She told us we must write down at least 50 ways. I did and it stretched me. I had to get creative. I had to have faith. I had to dig deep. At the end of it I felt exhilarated and empowered.

When I was struck with a success crisis last week and edged into overwork, I knew I had to do something different. A friend suggested I should look at my definition of success because it was sounding awfully tied up into money. She was right. And that's when it hit me -- use the 50-ways exercise to discover and craft my definition of success.

What I share below is my unedited exercise of all the ways in which I am successful. It's expansive, deep, funny and rarely has to do with money. I finished energized, relaxed and ready to refocus on what was important in my life.

1. I love my husband.
2. I am passionate about my work.
3. I care deeply about others, even when I struggle to show it.
4. I have failed. Many times.
5. I have the most awesome dog.
6. I can grow a beautiful, bountiful garden, especially when Mother Nature helps
with a rainy spring and summer.
7. I have a group of friends all over the world.
8. I have clients who are striving to improve their lives every day.
9. I live in service of others.
10. I have the best porch in the world from which to work.
11. I am with a man who pushes and supports me.
12. I am healthy despite medical diagnoses.
13. I am an amazing cook.
14. I can make people laugh, especially my husband.
15. I love to laugh a deep gut-aching laugh. (Note to self: do this more often.)
16. I inspire people by just being me.
17. I am a good step-mother, even though I don't have a clue what I'm doing.
18. I have people in my life who have earned the right to see my underbelly and
hear my shame.
19. I keep trying.
20. I once held crow pose for 20 seconds.
21. I'm a great listener.
22. I'm generous. Yes, sometimes to a fault.
23. I see my potential and don't shy away from it, even when my stomach cringes
with fear.
24. I ran a marathon once.
25. I waited for the right one.
26. I have a house that would make Goldilocks proud -- not too big, not too small,
just right.
27. I'm an optimist.
28. I'm a pessimist.
29. I'm a realist.
30. I can make beautiful pottery.
31. I'm no longer afraid to ask for what I want. (Okay, I am, but I've learned to ask
anyway.)
32. I'm provocative.
33. I'm intuitive.
34. I love the sound of rain.
35. I feel deeply.
36. I've learned to reach out for help.
37. I want for nothing.
38. I want to leave a legacy.
39. Little things make me happy.
40. The beauty of a skyline at night takes my breath away.
41. I know how to recharge my batteries, even if I struggle to do it every day.
42. I can lose myself in reading a good book.
43. I can lose myself in writing a book.
44. I'm perfect me, even as I don't do things perfectly.
45. I can synthesize complex stuff.
46. I'm working on my boundaries every day.
47. I have learned to say no without too much guilt.
48. I don't watch TV.
49. I have faith, at least most days.
50. I'm living my dream, even as the reality is not as shiny as I imagined.

Now it's your turn. How are you successful? Share below.

For more by Laurie Erdman, click here.

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