3 steps on how to define your own version of success
“What is success? It is being able to go to bed each night with your soul at peace” – Paulo Coelho
What does success look like to you? How would you define it?
Everyone’s definition of success is different because of how we choose to measure it. For some, it’s about money, power, and respect. For others, it’s about family, joy, and freedom. No matter how we choose to define it, we need to ensure it’s in alignment with who we are at the core.
For 15 years, I spent too much energy chasing the epitome of success as defined by social, economic and cultural norms. Or simply put, living up to others definition of success.
By external factors and expectations, I was deemed successful. While, I had some wonderful opportunities working in corporate America, internally, I was fighting an ongoing battle.
Then, one day I decided to pay close attention to the whispers of my soul. The cry for help came in the form of anxiety, migraines, insomnia, and depression. It was my heart, mind and soul’s way of telling me I was out of alignment. Spent. Overwhelmed. Burnt out.
Suddenly, things I thought that mattered didn’t matter as much. I knew I needed to make a choice. Therefore, I shifted my focus from how others measured success to how I choose to measure it.
Now, I spend time serving something greater than myself. As a speaker and personal development coach, I help people define their version of success and achieve aligned excellence. I believe we can strive for greatness by living in our essence and pursuing what we love. Thus, elevating success in every area of our lives and creating a more meaningful, fulfilling life.
Awareness makes all the difference” – Miguel Ruiz
Here are three steps on how to focus on what matters most to you:
Being self-aware is key
Self-knowledge is the first step in achieving higher levels of success. Being self-aware helps to know and understand yourself on a deeper level. Thus, helping to determine what matters most to you.
Everyone goes through different life experiences, circumstances, challenges, etc., which plays a significant role shaping who you are and letting go of what no longer serves you.
Understanding your personal evolution helps you recognize when change is needed, then acting on it. Self-awareness is an ongoing process and essential to the evolution of success in every area of your life. Jeff Bezos, once said, “what’s dangerous is not to evolve”.
Be captain of your ship
No one else can determine-nor should they-things that are important to you. Often times, we spend too much energy on what others may think or say about us. While they may have your best interest at heart and you value their opinions, it should never hold more power over your own.
By letting go of external factors and expectations, you’ll begin to experience inner peace and freedom to pursue what you want. Whether it’s a new job, career or entrepreneurship, commit to being captain of your own ship for a more successful journey.
Intuition is your compass
Listening to your intuition is key to navigating the rough waters of your path. Let it serve as your compass, guiding you to what aligns with your authentic self.
By slowing down and being still, through prayer, meditation, etc., you’ll start honoring your intuition. And, the more you practice it, the more you’ll begin to trust yourself to make choices that align with you.
How will you know your intuition is serving you? Intuition is a state of feeling and flow. You’ll know you’re on the right path because it feels right.
“Success is a journey, not a destination” – Arthur Ashe
Based on my own experience, I know defining it is a choice, not an expectation. We can lose our jobs, money, and titles yet we can always get them back. Time, on the other hand, is one commodity we could never reclaim.
Therefore, what path would you consider if you thought it would bring you greater joy?
Martha Ramos is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and life coach. She’s dedicated to helping modern professionals embrace their inner boss and define their own version of success.
A former media and marketing executive, Martha spent over 12 years helping Fortune 500 companies such as Colgate-Palmolive, Kraft, Ameriprise Financial, Unilever and Mary Kay create award-winning campaigns. Follow Martha on Instagram @mramosofficial
Working from home is a balancing act of responsibilities, a tricky exercise in flexibility and focus. However, with over 70 percent of the country working at home at least some of the time, it’s becoming increasingly important to know how to do it well. Thus, your home office should be comfortable, but not too relaxing. It should be functional, but with boundaries. And, you’ll want it to be warm and welcoming, but not distracting. Even if you’ve got the best selection of office furniture from somewhere like Office Monster, there is so much more that goes into creating a friendly home office environment. Listening to your body, your mind, and your heart will not only facilitate a healthy home work environment, but it will also foster productivity and overall well-being.
Think about the nature of your work as the effect on your body depends completely on where you work. If you work from home then you need a computer system that fits your needs. But if you work in a factory then the best thing that you can do for your body is to consider something like rugged industrial keyboards in an integrated computing system as this will help you have a calmer working experience and not put too much pressure on your body if you work in a factory. However, many people wouldn’t consider this as most people just work in an office with a simple laptop. Many of us don’t consider the toll that office work takes on our bodies until we simply can’t ignore it. Stagnant working positions such as sitting, typing, and staring at computer screens all day puts unnecessary stress on your body, often in the form of pain. Pain precipitates lost or restricted time in the office, reducing productivity and increasing frustration. The good news is, there are a variety of ways to mediate this before it becomes a serious problem.
Start with your chair. Your chair should be ergonomic, meaning that it promotes both efficiency and comfort. It should be adjustable in all aspects, while also providing lumbar support. Movement is key—you don’t want your chair to force you to stay in the same position for hours on end. Consider using an exercise ball; you can use the ball all on its own, or you can choose from a variety of bases. Ball chairs keep you active while you’re sitting and promote good posture. Similarly, you’ll want a desk that is flexible. Desks with adjustable heights allow you to move from a sitting to standing position, or somewhere in between. Using an adjustable desk allows you to use chairs with multiple heights and functionality, allowing you to keep moving while you work. Be comprehensive—you’ll want to pair these adjustable furniture choices with footrests and anti-fatigue mats so that you don’t put unnecessary pressure on your body.
Light and sound can also have negative impacts on your body. Glare and unnecessary noise can be both distracting and headache-inducing; so, eliminate them! First, position your desk so that natural light is filtering in from the sides of your work station. This way, you’ll have sunlight and be able to look out of your windows. Secondly, lamps and overhead lighting should be supplemental; light should be directed at your keyboard and paperwork, but not your screen. This reduces glare and is much easier on the eyes. Soundproofing, too, is easier on the ears. If you’re juggling family responsibilities and working from home, you may want to consider soundproofing your office. Soundproofing can get expensive, so if you’re on a budget, you can also look into ambient noise makers and apps. If you want to read some simple tips on how to soundproof your home, check out soundproofpanda.com.
Just like your body, your mind adapts to fit the space you’re in. You don’t want to settle into a stagnant space; rather, you’ll want a space that is flexible, allowing you to create a work environment that will facilitate ingenuity rather than boredom. Our work habits and responsibilities are variable; what is conducive to a conference call may not be ideal for word processing. Consider furniture that’s easy to move. It should be light, and have wheels so that you can easily change your space. Designate a spot for relaxation to allow yourself short breaks, even if it’s as simple putting a comfy chair by the window. Invest in quality work tools and high-speed internet to cut down on unnecessary frustration. Most importantly, create boundaries for yourself and for your family. Your workspace should stay your workspace—remove any distractions, such as TVs and gaming consoles. If you respect your own boundaries, your family will too.
While boundaries are important, your home office should still be a welcoming space where you look forward to spending time. Personalization is important. Don’t be afraid to add artwork, family photos, and sentimental mementos. While these items may be perceived as distractions, they actually facilitate creativity and innovation. Similarly, you’ll want to avoid grey, beige, or white walls when designing your office space. These colors can cause depressive feelings, particularly in women. Instead, turn to nature. Colors and themes that are commonly found in nature, such as blues and greens, promote calm, focus, and efficiency in the workplace. You can also take it a step further with low-maintenance plants and fish tanks. Creative professionals such as artists and developers may want to include yellows in their paint pallet, as they foster optimism, energy, and innovation. Feeling adventurous? Accent with purples; as a combination of warm and cool colors, they tend to trigger imagination. Be sure to match your paint scheme to your work life so you can settle in to your new home office!
Haley is from Gilbert, Arizona. She loves reading and writing just about anything under the sun. In her spare time, you can find her exploring outdoors or sippin’ on a craft brew.
In this day and age, every person is a brand. We see numerous influential individuals making big waves in social media and acting as internet celebrities and reputable experts. Their success was the result of meticulous planning and commitment. Like it or not, you also leave a trace online and make a certain impression. So, you can either shape the perception other people have of you, or let the chips fall where they may. The latter approach is not the way to go, not if you are experiencing a career slump or feel stuck in the loop. It is time to build a name for yourself. Here is how to actively craft and manage your image and reap various benefits.
Test the digital waters
Before anything else, get crystal clear on what your goals are. Ask the following questions: What do you hope to achieve with your branding efforts? How would you like to be seen by others? To answer them, first assess your current reputation. The simplest way to do this is to type your name in Google and see how you hold up. Maybe you’re not even able to find anything, especially if you have a common name. In any case, work out a plan on how to improve your digital presence. One of the main objectives is to boost your visibility and exposure.
Unveiling your persona
You can align your branding strategy with expectations and preferences of the target audience. At the same time, though, you have to remain genuine and truthful. In other words, your brand should be a reflection of who you are and what you stand for. Uncover a unique internet persona and its visual presentation. Infuse it in everything you do, be it sending personalized wedding invitations, designing business cards, editing a photo for your next post, or writing an email. Achieving consistency across all channels and touch points is the key to grabbing the attention and nurturing the trust.
Channeling your brand
Nowadays, there is no end to different networks you can take advantage of. Also, bear in mind that it is possible to use your own website or blog as a branding base of operations. But, it is not advisable to spread yourself too thin. For starters, identify online avenues that your audience frequents. Set up profiles on a few key hubs and focus all your attention there. Establish gateways between these accounts and the rest of your cyber real estate. Their synergy is likely to produce maximum traction and exposure.
Pouring in substance
Next, it’s time to optimize your profiles and pages. Use striking images and enthralling visuals to stand out in the overcrowded landscape. Pay special attention to the crown jewels of your brand, such as the profile and cover photo. Note that posts that have high-quality photos tend to generate way more likes, shares, comments, and retweets. Apart from the benefits of traction, all these social signals lead to a better ranking. Of course, well-written statuses and articles help your cause as well. Promotion through content is generally one of the most effective strategies you can use.
In the great digital outdoors, constant interaction is what gives you a real fighting chance. So, join the relevant groups in your industry/niche and engage in discussions. Answer peoples’ queries and questions. Keep up the pace with news and trends. Give people fresh and honest takes on popular topics. Become influential in your field and attain the reputation of an expert. If you manage to assume a distinguished position of a go-to source of information, you can foster a loyal community. Also, make sure to discover key influencers in the area and connect with them.
Moving up in ranking
People have grown weary of perpetual and aggressive advertising. They want to establish meaningful connections with brands, be it corporate or personal ones. And as you may know, the vast majority of the internet users search the web using powerful engines like Google. Hence, to take your branding game to the next level, you have to rank there, and you have to rank high. For this reason, get familiar with good SEO tactics that drive organic traffic your way. Thus, you will make the most of content marketing and never sacrifice quality for the sake of quantity. That being said, you should try to update your profiles on a regular basis.
A dazzling beacon
How you come across via the internet can have a profound impact on your professional life. To cut through the immense noise out there and reach your goals, you have to work hard and show perseverance. Reputation and image are never set in stone, and they require constant maintenance. Start by figuring out who you are and who you want to speak to. Create robust social media profiles and fine-tune your blog/website. Position yourself within your field of expertise to rise above the layers of generic and average. Master the art of storytelling and let your unique persona shine. Eventually, you will forge a stellar brand and use it as a vehicle for success.
Olivia is psychologist and entrepreneur from Brisbane. Mother of two beautiful children and proud owner of two silly boxer dogs. She is passionate writer, a traveler and conscious consumer, seeking healthy and sustainable products to incorporate into the lives of her family. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world”.
This week, freelance writer Alex Quayle shares her story with She Is Fierce! on love and tackling the ups and downs of long distance dating.
When I was finally hired as an English teacher in South Korea, it was bittersweet. Finally, after planning for this moment for years (six to be exact) I had achieved one of my biggest dreams — a trip of a lifetime. I had longed to live in South Korea since I was 16 years old and my new place of work was in a great location just outside of Seoul, known for its beautiful azaleas.
Admittedly, after accepting my job offer, I was suddenly filled with an overwhelming sense of grief. Along the journey towards one of my most sought-after goals, I met the one person who I really, really didn’t want to leave behind. Every relationship has its challenges; however, long-distance relationships present a whole different set of obstacles to overcome together.
I consider myself extremely lucky as my partner was able to join me for a few months throughout my stay in South Korea. Nevertheless, there was still plenty of time apart — not just apart, but in completely different time zones (I was almost always a day ahead of him). This narrowed down the amount of time we could actually speak to each other. This limited time was shortened even further because I was working throughout the day, and working very, very hard. This meant I had little time to check my phone during the few hours we were both awake.
Considering that communication is an essential part of any healthy relationship, I found myself angry, upset, and lonely. Of course I was enjoying my time in South Korea (see pictures below), but the part of me that missed my partner weighed heavily on my mind, and soon I found myself carrying around a toxic, gloomy monster with me each day. Now, a year later, I wished I’d had someone around to tell me it gets better during those painful moments apart. While everyone’s relationship is different, I think having more conversations about what happens when you’re hemispheres apart could really benefit the way we handle this kind of challenge.
Let’s get this on the table right now: You’re going to fight. That statement isn’t meant to scare you but hopefully give you assurance that fighting is pretty normal when working through a long-distance relationship. For me, the fighting often happened after I’d had a rather draining day at work, and I would attempt to call my partner, only to find that he was too busy enjoying drinks with our friends or something of the sort. Of course he would try to answer, but I would get flustered every time someone interrupted us (which was a lot) or the music got too loud.
In hindsight, I was jealous of my partner and clearly overwhelmed by all the changes. He was hanging out with our friends, at our favorite bars and restaurants, except I was on the other side of the world and couldn’t even get him to focus long enough to have a worthwhile conversation. At the time though, I felt completely left out, like my partner didn’t care about me. Social media didn’t help either, making me feel forgotten by my friends as well. Did they ask about me? Did they miss me? My partner and friends were enjoying everything I missed about home without me — I felt invisible.
I hope you haven’t rolled your eyes too hard at me yet. In my defense my emotions were definitely off-kilter during those first several weeks in Korea. While I was beyond thrilled to be teaching my precious kindergarten classes and enjoying so many new experiences — amazing food, new music, breathtaking sites — part of me felt as though my partner didn’t care. When you’re miles apart, often the little things can quickly become big things. Things I wouldn’t normally get upset about when we were in the same city suddenly became fighting points, especially if I had had a bad day. I also think I was feeling particularly solemn because I couldn’t share any of these amazing experiences with my partner.
Moreover, communication is significantly different when using technology like Skype and instant messaging, and when you’re forced to use it exclusively to “see” each other, things get complicated. The biggest issue for me was that my partner could no longer quickly notice when I was agitated, which lead to me thinking he wasn’t paying attention, and then I’d clam up. After I would shut down, it was nearly impossible to have a deep conversation, and because of that we were growing apart — emotionally and physically.
Starve The Monster
When you find it difficult to describe to your partner how you’re feeling or it seems impossible to resolve any sort of conflict, it’s as if an insatiable monster arrives, and you end up handing it its next meal every time you get on the phone. However, as experts at My Florida Law aptly explain, “Resolving conflict requires that both partners are honest, willing to communicate, and willing to consider their partner’s perspective, even when they don’t understand it.”
Reflecting back, my unwillingness to tell my partner exactly what I was feeling during those first weeks was the root of our problems. It wasn’t until we were pulled so thin and a breakup seemed almost inevitable, I finally told him: “When I call and you’re out with friends or at the store, it makes me feel like you don’t care to make time for us.” I remember feeling the monster shrink a few sizes that day as my partner finally understood what was hurting me so badly.
Communication is vital for any healthy, successful relationship, but it becomes even more essential to have in your pocket when you’re in a long-distance situation. I also realized that I was being unfair to my partner by not explaining to him what I needed. I didn’t give him or myself a chance to succeed with this whole Skype and messaging system. I had the right tools in front of me, but I was failing to utilize them. The monster between us continued shrinking as I began working harder to appreciate this shift in our dynamic relationship. I also had to learn how to forgive him when he couldn’t answer the phone or was busy during our scheduled meeting time. When my partner was finally able to join me for a bit in South Korea, instead of spending time trying to mend our relationship, we effortlessly found our stride again. I was able to show him the place I had called home for the past few months.
A Love That Can Last
There was also a surprise at the end of our time together in South Korea, which might have never happened if we hadn’t pushed through the hardest trial our relationship had ever experienced:
When my partner had to return back to the States once again and I stayed to finish out my year in South Korea, there was a remarkable difference with how we endured the distance. I had a better understanding of myself, him, and our relationship. Ultimately, for us, although the distance was at times unbearable, we were able to bloom into something better.
While not everyone needs to experience a long-distance relationship to strengthen their connection, it’s important for me to express how the love I have for my partner is more vibrant than ever before because he could have easily thrown in the towel before I even got on the plane. Instead, through all the bickering, and perhaps too many tears, he remained steadfast and grew with me, which eventually defeated that ugly monster between us, and in its place, he gave me all the proof I needed to see that we could survive anything together.
Alex Quayle currently lives in Boise, Idaho with her partner, cat, and dwarf hamster. She can never say no to coffee, doughnuts, and good conversation. Follow her on Twitter @alexquayle33 for more articles and pictures of her cute, little family.
Looking for the magic pill to achieve ”work-life balance?” Unfortunately, there is no such magical thing, but by incorporating some of these strategies into your own life, you’ll find it is possible to maintain a healthy relationship with family while finding time to pursue your passions and business goals.
Every entrepreneur struggles to find a balance and being a parent makes that struggle ten times more difficult. Working moms are amazing jugglers who execute multiple roles. You have to acknowledge all you’ve accomplished. The spirit of doing all the things and doing it every day is the driving force that keeps you running on the road to successful work-life balance.
Manage your time and learn to say no
Time management is one of the biggest challenges working moms face. Focus on the essential tasks first. Learn to say no to least important tasks and simplify your work. Using a calendar broken into categories of task importance to manage both professional and personal priorities will be helpful. Split it up into four groups: Urgent/important, urgent/not important, not urgent/important and not urgent/not important. Get it the habit of jotting down a to-do as it comes up and prioritizing its importance early on.
Have a Plan
All mompreneurs use planners to balance their work and family life. Some use paper organizers and some prefer apps and software. The good news is that you can keep both personal and work appointments on the same calendar to avoid a clash. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different systems. Play around with apps like Asana or Trello and see what best works for you, what makes you more efficient and organized. Toggl is another helpful tool that allows you to keep track of hours to maximize productivity and efficiency. It allows you to see break down your schedule according to specific tasks and projects and then provides you with weekly and monthly summaries.
Business startups can be challenging, so you need to remain optimistic while facing failure. You will encounter a plethora of difficulties balancing your work and family simultaneously, but do not fall into despair. Remind yourself that you have the potential and you can do it. A positive mindset will help you visualize your goals. A positive attitude is priceless.
Replace the word “perfect” with “good enough”
Most moms want to be the perfect mother, perfect wife, and a perfect entrepreneur – all at the same time, but chasing this perfectionism takes the joy out of motherhood. While making your work life perfect, you somehow lack in making your family life perfect, so isn’t it better to balance both with “good enough” rather than “perfect”?
Make time for family
Family time can relieve stress, develop positive behavior and help you lead a healthy lifestyle. All these things will be beneficial in the startup world when you are struggling to remain positive. Organize family camping trips, game nights, walks to the park, and build a quality relationship with your family. These are little things that are worth your valuable time and you will never regret it.
Make sure you’re also awarding yourself some “me” time. Challenge yourself to work a little bit more the night before so you can reserve the following day for extra long naps, a movie marathon, trying out a new recipe, a much deserved shopping trip, or whatever it is that leaves you feeling recharged.
Don’t let mommy guilt destroy your morale
When receiving unwanted parental advice whether it’s direct or passive, pay no attention. Do what works for you. Internalizing the “shoulds” and “should nots” in your life can create unnecessary hurdles in your success.
In today’s fast-paced society, it’s difficult to find time to be alone. When you are struggling to balance your work and family, it’s important to keep reminding yourself that you can manage everything. Things will get better with time. Find some self-reflection time for yourself.
It is possible to balance motherhood and a successful, exciting career. It takes dedication, passion, patience, and self-love.
To all the mothers tackling their own businesses or juggling a high-power career with kiddos, keep inspiring!
Judy Robinson is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger. She loves to write on healthy lifestyle, fitness 101 and DIY related topics. Follow @judyrobinson for more updates.
Powerful Keys to Growth Mindset Success
You’ve heard about the benefits of a growth mindset, but how does someone change their mindset? Research on brain plasticity has shown that neural connections can change with experience. That means there are things you can do to change the way you think. Here are five keys to encourage growth mindset success.
Growth mindset versus fixed mindset
A mindset has a major impact on the trajectory of a person’s life. Someone with a fixed mindset will base their life around what they consider their inborn strengths, while shunning unfamiliar situations. People with fixed mindsets often give up on a task that proves challenging, since if their attributes cannot accomplish their goal, then it seems unlikely they will succeed.
Alex Ferguson, a psychologist writing for UK top writers, explains, “A growth mindset is the opposite of a fixed mindset. If you have a fixed mindset, then you believe your personality, emotions, level of intelligence, and other characteristics are predetermined and not something you can change.”
So, on the other hand, a person possessing a growth mindset approaches life with the belief that they determine whether they succeed or fail at something. These people approach failure as a learning experience, an opportunity to improve themselves.
Open your mind to new experiences
Be open to new experiences. Carol Dweck, a pioneer in growth mindset theory, asked participants, possessing either a fixed or growth mindset, a group of difficult questions. She then examined her subjects’ brain activity while they were informed on how well they had done.
What Dweck discovered was that those with a fixed mindset showed interest while hearing that they had answered correctly. Their brains were much less active when hearing information about questions they had answered incorrectly. Dweck concluded from this exercise that a fixed mindset is a barrier to someone learning.
Sandra Wheeler, writer at Best Australian Writers, advises, “The participants with growth mindsets experienced a high level of brain activity throughout the process and learned more from the exercise than those with the fixed mindset. Approach life with a growth mindset if you value continuous learning.”
Your words and their impact
What you say and don’t say can have a major effect on the people around you. Does your growth mindset carry over to the way you approach relationships? Do you find yourself encouraging others to grow and develop their talents and abilities? Or do you sometimes forget that everyone has the capacity to improve themselves if they adopt a growth mindset? If this is the case, try and think of some ways you can improve and encourage a growth mindset in the people around you.
Consider organizing your thoughts on paper. Maybe you communicate better this way; try writing a letter or a note to someone, encouraging them to think about adopting a growth mindset or express your thoughts in a poem, essay, or even a book by using writing guides such as Via Writing and Grammarix. Also, according to study, writing is a key to improved mood, well-being, it reduces stress and improves creativity.
Maintain a good attitude
Your attitude is so important, guard it carefully against negativity. Watch out for negative comments, don’t let them distract you. Listen to the voice inside you, rather than obsessing over criticism, if you think it is coming from a place of growth mindset. Be compassionate with yourself; don’t be any harder or more negative than you would be when speaking to a friend or family member. If you can get into the habit of keeping a positive outlook, then you will also be able to harness the power of envisioning a positive outcome.
Before you accomplish a goal, you must visualize yourself doing it. Think about what success means to you and then picture yourself achieving that success. Think about how great you will feel when you master this new skill, doing this will help you focus on accomplishing it. Perhaps your goal is to establish your own business. The good example is BoomEssays, which was founded by person, who changed his mindset to a growth mindset and reaped the rewards.
Celebrate when you succeed
When you experience success, take a moment to celebrate it. More importantly, take stock of why you succeeded. Think of the hard work that allowed you to learn the skill that led to your success. Focus on what you’ve done to achieve, rather than accept it as a result of your inborn talents. Think about how your growth mindset has played a role in helping you succeed. Some people find it helpful to keep a journal about these things. If you want a helping hand getting started, check out resources such as Revieweal.
Change your mindset and you will change your life. You can encourage a growth mindset by keeping an open mind towards new experiences, being mindful of your words and their impact, maintaining a good attitude, and celebrating your successes. Changing your mindset sounds difficult, but if you are mindful and follow these keys, it is within your grasp.
Brenda Berg is a professional with over 15 years of experience in business management, marketing and entrepreneurship. Consultant and tutor for college students and entrepreneurs at Oxessays. Also, Brenda is a part-time educator and Editor in Chief at Essayroo. She believes that constant learning is the only way to success. You can visit her personal blog at Letsgoandlearn.com