“It’s not about having more time in your life, it’s about having more life in your time.”-Martha Beck
I have been thinking a lot lately about what really makes up a “successful” life. My daughter just graduated from high school last week, and it seems like this is the time that lots of talk happens from college brochures, graduation speeches, and other outside forces, on how to set yourself up for success and have a good life. Of course much of this advice is focused on how our culture defines success, usually involving a high paying job, a nice house and car and other “things”, a long lasting marriage, well behaved, smart kids, and then after these things are in place, you get to feel happy and secure and ride on that train for the rest of your life. Most of us come to see after living adult life for awhile that this definition of success has a lot of holes in it, and even if it is achieved, while we may have a lot of stuff filling up our lives, inside there is an emptiness, as the feelings we thought “success” would give us, like happiness, security and contentment, don’t seem to happen as a result.
Luckily, there is a big shift starting to occur in our society, and more and more people are starting to question what a successful life really is. We are starting to buck up against the still very strong messages of our culture, and look inward to our own personal definitions of what success is and how it looks as it plays itself out in our lives. I have had so many inspiring conversations recently with people who are choosing to trust the directions that their inner compasses are telling them to go, even when it doesn’t seem to make sense and others are being critical of their choices. And not surprisingly, for many of them, a lot of dang good stuff has started to happen, in pretty cool and unexpected ways.
So I wanted to sit down and write a bit on some new ideas for living a successful life. This is kind of my own personal guidebook, a compilation of meaningful nuggets that have risen to the top for me over the years. Everyone’s guidebook I’m sure will look different, a unique gathering of inner knowings based on personal experiences and the lessons learned from them. I share mine as a jump start to really spending some time getting to know exactly what living a successful life means to you, and using this knowledge to chart your own course, in your own way.
So here goes: 🙂
What does success mean to me?
It means feeling free and content and a sense of purpose in my life. It means feeling all of my feelings and letting them transform and expand me. It means waking up each day grateful to be on this planet and for all that I have. It means earning money doing work that feels meaningful and fun and challenging and an expression of my gifts. It means using money to care for myself and others, engage in activities I feel passionate about and have fun doing, and to add sprinkles of meaningful beauty to wherever I may call home. It means loving hard and as unconditionally as possible, and being loved hard and as unconditionally as possible. It means helping the world to be a better place for others. It means knowing I am part of something bigger, something so peaceful, something Divine.
So how do I show up to create this successful life?
Be kind. It makes a huge difference in the world.
Be courageous. There will always be fear. Leap anyway.
Be in each moment as fully as possible. It is the only thing real and is where all the peace and magic lives.
Find your people. Cherish them.
Find what feels like bliss. Do it. And then do it again.
Find the blessings in everything. Even when it is so dark, keep looking for the light. It is there. Always.
Spend time in nature. It grounds and reminds you that you are part of everything.
Spend time doing things that make you say “Hell Yes!” You have a choice on how to spend your hours.
Spend time with people that inspire you, love you, encourage you, accept you and that are fun! You can love everyone, but don’t have to hang out with them if they drag you down.
Give your time to help others. It is one of your critical jobs on the planet.
Give the unique gifts you have been blessed with to the world. They make a difference.
Give your love freely and without conditions. This may be one of the biggest challenges and also one of the most important in order to create big, beautiful relationships.
Explore new places. It will expand you and connect you to the world in ways that otherwise would not happen.
Explore what feels delicious and exciting and what feels like freedom. These things may also come with a side of being scared, exploring involves adventure into the unknown.
Explore the depths of your soul. Listen to the quiet voices that lead you to what you love.
Know that you will make mistakes. Just learn.
Know that you will disappoint others at times. Be kind, ask for forgiveness when needed, and stay true to your path.
Know that there will be loss and it will hurt. Feel your grief fully and let it open you to more compassion and appreciation and to loving bigger and better.
Make art. In any which way your creative expression wants to come out, let it play.
Make love. Make it with your whole heart, your whole body, your whole spirit. When the connection is big and right, physical intimacy cracks you open to your most precious, vulnerable and giving self, and it is a most sacred sharing with another. Plus, it is damn fun.
Make miracles. Your words, your gift of listening to another, your compassion can set off beautiful chain reactions in the world.
Believe in yourself. You really can do this. Have faith. Trust big time.
Believe that you are love itself. Let it flow out of all of you. Every nook and every cranny.
Believe in the Divine. You are always loved. Always safe. Always connected. Always one.
Here’s to a successful life. 🙂