A success, in its most simplistic form, is defined as a person or thing that achieves their desired aims or attains prosperity.
Today's uncertain world does not revolve around the textbook definition of success, and the goal of The Third Metric is to collectively redefine success on an individual level, leaning away from the societal definition and distorted concept that has yielded a modern-day Hunger Games for power and money.
If you ask a child to define what success means to them, their innate sincerity will most likely produce a fairy tale-like response depicting smiles and dreams where money and power hold no value. A teenager -- stepping for the first time into the churn of societal pressure towards conformity -- may also respond with their own rendition of a fairy tale-like scenario filled with hope for a bright future, though with a touch more worldliness. Still, little value would be placed on climbing the corporate ladder.
As time escapes us and our self-concentration dissipates, we find ourselves as adults, half-hollow cynics lacking those same dreams and admirable ambitions, in constant wonder and fear of what we don't have. If only the subjugation of society's pressures left us stronger and not weaker. Then, we could find ourselves hopeful and whole as we once were.
"Overworked," "tired" and "hungry for more" are the terms most associated with the outcomes of being successful. So, how do we continue to define success as the attainment of a desired aim when no one person eagerly aims for self-destruction?
I, too, have aimed for a powerful career and sought the paths that would increase my bottom line. And I, too, found myself overworked, overwhelmed and overcome by exhaustion. The one thing that I was not was self-fulfilled or content with who I had become. But the fault was solely my own. My financial and business successes were in abundance, but my life as a woman, wife, mother and friend was non-existent. The day I awoke to this realization was the thankful day that I wrote my own guidelines for success, supported by the strength of my family, my friends and the wise coaching of my leaders. I couldn't do it alone and once I opened myself up to accept that I didn't have to, I was able to define success on my own terms.
The truth of it all is that my family never required me to make more money; they were happy with me as I existed. My superiors never required me to work 24 hours a day, nor did they force me to check my emails during dinner. But my desire to grow resulted in me doing that and much more; and none of it mattered. At the end of the day, no one was happier -- not my family, not my colleagues and definitely not myself. So I stopped. And I listened to my inner voice and found the balance in my core.
Here are the guidelines I used to redefine success:
Sacrifice for yourself and not of yourself, your family or your dreams. Sacrifice to better your life, for new and brighter beginnings and not in search of gleaming hopes instilled in you by others. Sacrifice to achieve balance, not to over-extend yourself. Sacrifice to maintain pleasure in the home and workplace and to overcome bitterness and resentment for any distance you need to take from one or the other.
Unplug your mind and shut it down. Enjoy today and what it holds. Allow your mind, body and soul to be still in what you have achieved and not focused on that which you have yet to gain. Do not stumble into a nightmare of inconstant thoughts surrounding that which you must accomplish 5 or 10 years down the road. Today impacts your tomorrow, so have an impact on what is today.
Connect with friends and strangers alike. There is more to learn from diving into the unknown. Care for those around you, even those you don't know. Listen and learn from the masses, but know the choice to move forward is ultimately yours and yours alone. Gaining knowledge is never harmful, but many wrong choices can be made because of that which you have yet to learn.
Collaborate to make a difference. Respond to groups, to articles, in meetings and gatherings -- respond to anything that forces an emotion, a thought or feeling within you. You can be part of the change for greater good.
Express your desires, whatever they may be. Do not worry or dismay that they will go against pop culture or conformity. No one man or woman is alike, so why should anyone expect an individual's desires to fit into the same square box as their peers'?
Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. Do not be afraid to be taught or to learn from someone else. Be wary of surrounding yourself with people who can't or won't teach you anything. The only way to rise above is to rise together.
Succeed for you! Aim for the goals that render you happiest, whole and healthy. Your mind, body and soul succeed as a unit, and you alone can feel when any one of these elements is out of sync. Stop, listen and you shall succeed!
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with our women's conference, "The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power" which will take place in New York on June 6, 2013. To read all of the posts in the series and learn more about the conference, click here. Join the conversation on Twitter #ThirdMetric.