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What is success?

Mark Twain said, “The secret of success is to make your vocation your vacation.” With four out of five people “unhappy” in their current jobs, our society doesn’t have enough vacationers.

What is success? Many people define success simply as winning. During the London Olympics, so much pressure was placed on winning; not just winning, but winning a gold medal; not just winning one, but multiple gold medals.

With only one gold medal awarded per event, is every other participant who didn’t win gold unsuccessful? I’m all for being the best you can, but if you feel unsuccessful because you only won a silver or bronze medal (or none at all), sheesh! Did you notice there were plenty of them at the games?

The treadmill of have, do, be

Beyond the Olympics, why are 80 percent lacking happiness in their jobs? I believe the pressure to succeed (i.e. win) causes negative results. Many people see success as something on the horizon. In my business as life coach and executive recruiter, I speak to countless people who are stuck on this treadmill of have, do, be: If only I had one million dollars, then I could do what I really wanted; then I’d be happy. These people wander through life unhappy, then are surprised when they get that involuntary “early retirement.”

A state of mind

The true pathway to success is be, do, have. All you have to do is simply be happy, then you’ll be drawn to doing work that feels like a vacation; then you’ll have more than just financial reward; you’ll find success in all facets of life. In my book, “The Bliss List—the Ultimate Guide to Living the Dream at Work and Beyond,” (www.YourBlissList.com) success is defined as meaningful happiness. The good news is that meaningful happiness is easy to obtain—it’s a state of mind, a choice. And it doesn’t cost anything.

Practice happiness

Thomas Jefferson, in the “Declaration of Independence,” wrote about our inalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” That phrase has different meaning today. Pursuit today is akin to the word “try.” Hey, I’m moving this weekend, can you help me? I’ll try…Pursuit in 1776 meant practice. Quite a different meaning. Jefferson figured it out and I wish our schools would add a footnote.

The more you give…

Sheryl Crow nailed it in her song Soak Up the Sun: “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.” Be, do, have starts with gratitude—being grateful for what you’ve got. Gratitude is an ideal starting point to obtaining success. Beyond gratitude, provide value. Provide double the value for your goods and/or services and success will follow. The more you give—without expecting anything in return—the more you will receive.

If it sounds easy, it is. The best things in life are free and choosing happiness is at the top of the list. Be leery of obstacles—four letter words—can’t, don’t, won’t, and fear. There is no true reason you cannot find happiness—it’s your inalienable right! There can only be one successful gold medal winner, but there is no limit to success.