To be successful, we must first define success. Looking inside ourselves for definitions of success leads to satisfaction, creativity, energy, happiness, and/or meaning. Looking outside leads to empty achievement, perpetual dissatisfaction, learned helplessness, burnout, superficiality, frustration, and regret. Ouch.
We know this. We see how externally-defined success leads us and others to chase money, fame, stuff, titles, and accolades in the dire hope of being happy.
Yet we make an old error that has us abandon our internal definitions and default to external ones. This error has two parts. We first conclude that, because an externally-driven life is bad, we must become saintly abstainers. Second, because that sounds rather dull, we conclude that an internally-driven life is yucky or impossible (for us) so we might as well chase what everyone else is chasing.
See the flaw? An externally-driven life is bad. But a life lived in the world is delicious.
We need neither withdraw from the outside world nor allow it to be our master. We will embrace the outside world to show and let us play with things we like and things we don’t, with splendor and squalor, with light and dark. We will constantly draw from the outside world to inform our internally-generated goals and definitions of success.
That balance, mes amis, corrects the error.
In your corner,
PS: We use this internal + external balance to find your personal SweetSpot-based career.
PPS: We also use it for your business. Where you see things like perpetual dissatisfaction or burnout in your organization, you are seeing the symptoms of the whole place chasing externally defined success. (I know, right! Mind=blown.)
PPPS: The really good news is that succeeding based on internally-defined measures generates all the externally-noticed-and-appreciated success you or your organization could ever want.
Today’s photo credit: AndyRobertsPhotos via photopin cc