How do you define success? From one person to another, responses will certainly vary. One person might gauge their success by wealth or professional achievement. Another may define it by the quality of their relationships with family and friends. One might deem their life successful by having made a lasting impact on a cause or on a community that they cared about while someone else measures it by the quality of their life experiences; travel, culture, history, adventure…. All these things are as significant to an individual’s success as much as they are of no consequence to another. Success is what you make it and there is no right or wrong way to define it. Your successful life might look completely different than mine and frankly, it should. No one has the right to define it for you, but you. Not your parents, your peers, your spouse, your boss or your teacher, just you. We are all individuals on our own path.
In it’s simplest form, success is living life in alignment with your personal values. When we feel that we are not on the path which we should be, we must seek what we value at our deepest core. If you don’t know what is ultimately important to you, how do you know what you’re trying to accomplish? If you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish or why you’re trying, it is difficult to feel successful.
What is deeply important to you? Is it Family, Excellence, Financial Independence, Health, Adventure, Travel, Creativity, Authenticity, Honesty? If you’re clear of what you truly value, are those values aligned with the choices and the actions you take each day?
The big challenge; nobody cares about simply one thing. We all have multiple values, yet we often default to a belief that one must be sacrificed for another. If Family is at the top of your list but so is Wealth, would you sacrifice one for the other and still consider yourself successful, or would you feel regret? If you value both Excellence and Health, but only practice excellence in your work and less on your health, can you consider either a priority? If Respect is at the top of our list, but we only give it to those whom we have something to gain from, can you consider yourself genuinely living that value? When we struggle to feel pride for who we are being, and can’t figure out why, this is a good place to start.
When we attempt to juggle multiple values that appear to conflict, and we choose to abandon one in order to honor the other, we eventually become dissatisfied. Unhappiness ensues, and we often can’t comprehend why. If I don’t think I can have a successful career and still be a great husband and father, I will never feel truly successful. If I believe that building wealth must come at the cost of occasionally disrespecting or breaking another’s trust, I will become frustrated over time. Because I value Trust and Respect and yet I also value Wealth, I must find a way to live my life in a way that these can compliment each other, rather than cannibalize each other. Though finding a way to juggle it all may be a slower moving ship, it is possible. It is also more sustainable, because it feels right. And when things feel right, that path can be endured. Though it certainly isn’t easy, living all of your values is possible.
Personally, I don’t believe that hitting a specific goal is how anyone should ultimately determine their success. I believe that what is more important is to have used your idea of success (your values) as a compass to guide your choices and your actions toward a specific direction. We can control a lot more in life than we give ourselves credit for, but we can’t control everything… We should not attach our idea of success to specific outcomes, but rather to attach it to our level of effort in reaching our goals. When we accomplish a goal, it means it is over. We still have the rest of our lives to live afterwards and we can only celebrate it for so long before the satisfaction fades. Success is not a destination, it is a direction, a path, a journey. It is a series of wins and of learning lessons that come with many scars along the way. Success is something we continuously work on and we strive to work towards. The learning and the effort never end…
Here is my idea of success: That each day, I can look in the mirror and say that I’ve given my best to live my values. (That I’ve given my actual best, because often we consider giving any level of effort our best. To “try” and to give our “best effort” are not synonymous). Despite this, I accept that I will not always make the right decisions. But if I can take my mistakes and learn from them for the next situation, I cannot be haunted by regret. Though I may occasionally veer off course, I practice reflecting on my values. This re-instills clarity when my world becomes foggy and choices are difficult. It steers me back toward the path on which I set out. Mistakes made turn to lessons learned and they make me better for next time. If I can be proud of myself, not simply for the good choices I have made, but from how I rebound from the bad ones, I will have a peaceful conscience, or “Peace of Mind”.
If I have Peace of Mind, I can trust that my goals and accomplishments will lead me to somewhere that I want to be. Whether or not it leads me exactly where I originally envisioned is of no consequence, because the success is not in reaching my goals, but moreover in who I had to become in effort to accomplish them.
Because this is a real estate website, how does this relate to our business? It is the paradigm by which we operate. We certainly measure our success by our results in tangible numbers (click here if you care to see them) but the numbers are a by-product of our aim, which is Peace of Mind. If we know, and if each of our clients know, that we assisted them to the very best of our abilities to put them in the best possible position, we will have peace of mind- and so will our clients… How do we know if we’ve done our best? In each transaction, we must be able to honestly answer to ourselves that we shared every piece of information in our power to allow our clients to make the best decisions for them. To do this, we need to ensure that we constantly educate ourselves, to research our markets and to consider every angle of cause and effect so as not to overlook any factor that could have put our clients in a better position. We must push all that we can to negotiate the most favorable terms and to market their homes in the most effective way. Moreover, we need to seek to understand exactly what it is that our clients want to accomplish each time, and communicate everything necessary throughout the process.
Perfect doesn’t truly exist, but in every transaction, if we felt and if our clients felt that we did everything noted above, we both have Peace of Mind. And that, in our eyes, is Success!