The world is ours if we want it. And boy, do we want it!
We've come a long way from the days of our forefathers, when economic demands shaped what our purpose would be, to today, where living our dreams is a concept we can believe in. We have arrived at a turning point where we can create our lives the way we want them to be... and look and feel great doing it!
Yet for many, thinking outside the box when it comes to success can be difficult. The corner office, the stretched schedules, the long work weeks that neglect us and our families seem to be the impending destiny that looms over our heads. But it doesn't have to be that way. We can step out of that box and customize our lives to fit our wants and needs.
We need not cling to a cookie cutter idea of success. It should be an expansive idea of happiness, joy and fulfillment that adapts to our evolving selves. With the adjustment of a few things in our lives, we can be successes at living the lives we intended.
How, you say?
First: Create an intention for life (a legacy).
Don't live the life your mom, dad, sister or brother wants you to live. Live the life you want to live. The quality of your life depends upon it. I hate to break it to you, but that urge you feel won't go away if you don't do it justice. If you have a desire to be something, do something or create something, the urge will remain if you don't honor it with action. It will not disappear. It will only grow louder and more persistent. And in turn, you and others around you will grow more and more unsatisfied with the life you've chosen.
Second: Don't bend the spoon. Bend around the spoon.
Yes. I am a Matrix fan. Yet, there is truth in the words of the young bald child. We spend our lives attempting to control things that cannot be controlled. Find solace in the fact that you don't have to control everything. Some things don't need our assistance to work themselves out. Choose to allow those things to just take place and you will have much more room to live the enhanced life you want to live. This is the secret of the carefree but wise person you often meet in passing who's vibrant, youthful and happy most all the time.
Third: Balance -- in all things -- is a requirement, not a luxury.
Smell the roses just as much as you burn the night oil. Edify yourself as much as you encourage others. Take risks as much as you play it safe. Learn something new as often as you forget something that no longer works for you. Keep a little child in you to balance out the grown up. These are just some of the balanced ingredients that will fuel your success in life. Give as much as you receive. Love yourself and others, especially when it is difficult. Forgive and let go while holding loving memories dear. Overall, in all things, find a balance that suits you.
Fourth: Stop looking for something inside the SUCCESS box to take away to define you.
Put something in the box that does define you (after all, we all could use some new definitions of success). Perhaps the more definitions we have, the more we will stop looking for the one that we adapt to and create the one that adapts to us.
Fifth: Be OK being a little clueless... ignorance has to be bliss, because we all have some of it.
It is true that none of us have all of the answers alone; in some things, we are clueless. But together, we have the closest thing to truth we will ever come across.
So go ahead... step out of the box. Stepping out of the box of success feels so good. It's like breaking free of a cage that you've been locked into for so long. It's necessary.
Want to know why we don't fit anymore? Success has to evolve to include what we feel now... not what we defined years ago. We are an expansive, diverse, acculturated group of individuals with more likes than dislikes and more desires than those already born. What women (and men) desire has evolved. We want authentic lives that reflect who we are, we want balance, and we seek complete growth and adventure.
It is this desire for instant rather than delayed gratification that motivates us to enjoy life now and not after retirement like our parents before us. But can we have it all? Is a blended model of success attainable?
Yes. It is possible to have it all. It is this push that has begun to shape our economic environment and warp the business world into a playground for growth, adventure, innovation and longevity. The new success model activates the gifts that we all possess. It is apparent in the small business owner who ventures out from the corporate world to create anew; it's the new concepts of gaming in the workplace to increase innovation and happiness in the work environment; it's the global technology and connection that seeks to advance us from effort to effortless; it is growth and not stagnation. It's taking a risk, finding joy, pursuing a dream and allowing the generations behind you to follow in your footsteps. It's pausing long enough to smell the roses, dipping your toe in warm lake water on a summer day, kissing your loved one good night, and finding happiness in the dream that's more play than work.
The economy will bend accordingly to find room for your dream. It always has and always will. The new model for success is gratitude, happiness, balance, joy, authenticity, growth, a little dust kicking along the way... and all that jazz.
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.