Re-defining success ourselves.
The topic of success is at the forefront of many conversations as businesses are finding their footing after the challenges the pandemic created and as the workforce establishes their priorities with returning (or not) to work.
While my initial response to the concept of re-defining success was 'absolutely, it's about time', a discomfort came about me as I settled into the truth that success in this manner is externally driven.
Five years ago I was sitting on an Adirondack chair on the beautiful campus of Esalen overlooking the cliffside of Big Sur, California and I was reading Daniel Pink's Drive - The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. His conversation about autonomy, mastery and purpose resonated with my current state, that being a 15 year clinician and mentor seeking something more.
Many aspects of that book in combination with inner work regarding my beliefs uprooted the understanding of my motivations, or at least what I thought they were.
My values, goals and definition of success had all been greatly influenced by my experiences as a child, the authority of my parents, the system of education, and the world of business and even the professional constructs of physical therapy. Amongst all of them, I became successful. Yet after 15 years and a position that most therapists would love to have, I was unhappy. And like many others I thought it was simply burnout. But in truth it wasn't.
What had really happened is that I wasn't connected to my self. The deep part of you that knows every element of who you are. All of it. Your purpose, your why, your passion, your skills, your vision, your dreams.
I had allowed my actions, choices and therefore professional path to be defined by the outer world, all the while rationalizing that this was the way to make all my dreams come true.
The last 6 years have been spent living my purpose and creating joy and fulfillment each day. No, it hasn't always been easy or without various levels of discomfort. But I can absolutely promise you that once you get of taste of living your life fully, you will never again settle, never again justify, never again tolerate living outside of who you truly are.
'Purpose provides activation energy for living.' - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi