Three years ago, I attended a conference on the theme of technology meeting spirituality. While I was there, during a question and answer session with one of the speakers, a very accomplished young man in the tech world shared with the group.
He spoke about how he had all the material possessions he could ever want in life and was considered by his peers to be outstanding in his field. Yet he noted that, despite the appearances of success, there was a void within him. He wondered whether or not he was truly successful.
Since that time, I’ve thought about that young man’s question. After some reflection, I’ve realized that being of service to a spiritual idea is perhaps the new definition of success. When we are of service to a spiritual idea, within that idea is abundance, unbounded energy, divine wisdom and vitality. We can be finely tuned instruments of God, so that we can demonstrate heaven on Earth.
That sounds all well and good. But how do we begin to move toward living this new definition of success? What are some practical things we can begin to do?
Here are four possible steps I’ve identified to help us achieve authentic success in life:
Clarify your purpose. You can start by being still and asking, “Who am I really? What have I come here to be?” On some level, we realize that we are not here merely to get ahead in life in order to acquire more things. If we stop there, we end up just doing “busy work” in life. When we clarify who we have come here to be, we feed our real passions and desires. We get lost in what we are doing because it’s not work, it is something that is fun and gives us joy. When we feel that way, we know we are in tune with what is ours to do.
Develop competence. Once you identify your life’s purpose, in whatever form that shows up, you must continuously develop your skills and abilities in that area. If you really want authentic success, you must study and hone your craft. A friend of mine became aware that the idea that gave her life was to become a chef. She was already good at cooking and preparing meals, but she sought continuous improvement by studying, reading, taking classes and learning from others. Although she dabbled in other areas of interest, she spent most of her time studying her craft. That’s what most great artists in history did. They had a depth of study in the area that they knew was theirs to do.
Make the commitment. If we want to live out the new definition of success, it takes another level of commitment. One of my colleagues decided he was going to be the best instructor and practitioner of meditation he could be. So for the past 30 years, he has never gone a day without meditating. The results are evident in his life. Commitment means getting rid of distractions that take away our focus on fulfilling our purpose. Sometimes distractions show up in the form of multitasking. Genuinely successful people don’t multitask; they a have a defined area they focus on. They say, “This is my thing and I’m going to get rid of other distractions."
Get mentors. Most of us can only go so far on our own. We can do the best we can, all day every day, but if we’re not getting feedback from others, there is no way to go to the next level. We all have a competence ceiling that we hit if we try to do it alone. We can only take ourselves so far. We all need someone from the outside to let us know where we can make adjustments or give us something to think about in order to bring out the highest and best in us. Sometimes all we need to do is ask for support from others who are where we want to be. Most are more than willing to coach us, if we ask.
Even if we are “succeeding” at what is not ours to do, eventually it will deaden our soul. So it is incumbent upon us to ask those critical questions, “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” Then we ought to continuously seek to improve our competence in our chosen area, be committed and be willing to get help along the way.
When we are being our true and authentic selves, we live in a new definition of success and are creating our best life here and now.
Peace and Blessings,