Success does not happen by accident. It is important to have a vision for your future. When you look back on your life, what do you want to have achieved? Where do you want to be? Are you 75 years old and still working? Did you retire at 50, spend 20 years travelling the world with your spouse and now spend your time looking after the grandkids? Maybe you want to spend your time devoted to your religion or a charity of some sort? Whatever your goals are, if you want to achieve them, you need to have a clear vision. Quite simply, if you do not have a clear vision as to what you want from your life, you will never fulfil your potential or achieve your goals. You will go through life aimlessly and unfulfilled.
What is Success?
The key to putting together your vision is to identify what success looks like for you specifically. People often confuse what success means. If you have a huge house, millions in the bank, a great car, and fancy holidays every year are you successful? The answer is that it depends on your goals. If your personal ambition was to be a wonderful parent and the cost of the big house and large bank balance is that you have sacrificed time with your family, the answer is no. This is something many people forget, there is no true fixed definition of success. You just have to look at how many high profile rich and famous individuals commit suicide to understand that material gain does not lead to success.
Your success should not be based on the external validation of others, it should come from you being your authentic self and doing what makes you feel happy and fulfilled. Each of us has different ambitions and things that we want to achieve and to get out of life. For this reason, it is unhelpful to compare your achievements to others, or to consider others as ‘unsuccessful’ because they have not achieved what you want to achieve. However high others may reach in life or careers, you also have no way of judging whether they consider their own lives a success.
Define Your Success
Because success is personal to each individual there are many different ways it can be defined and measured. Perhaps success to you is that you love music and you want to produce the best music in the world, win awards and tour the world selling out stadiums singing in front of thousands of people every night. Perhaps you care about you are passionate about a specific cause and want to help change the world. Maybe, you just want a nice simple life, earn enough money to pay the bills and spend your evenings watching Netflix. But as the very first step towards achieving your own success, you need to clearly define what it is you want to achieve.
When you begin to do this, it is incredibly important to remember that your vision to extend to all areas of your life. For example, you may want to be a billionaire entrepreneur, but do you want to be one that works 100 hours a week, is 50 and still single, never married, never had kids, never takes vacations and just does nothing except work? You may want to be devoted to your family, but do you want to be scraping by on minimum wage to ensure you have enough time to spend with your family? Its important to break your vision down in to multiple facets. There is your professional life, your personal life, hobbies and leisure, education etc. Every decision you make moving forward should be aligned to delivering on your own version of success.
Update your vision every 3-5 years
Finally, its incredibly important to consistently revisit your vision every few years and update it accordingly. Life is unpredictable and circumstances and priorities change. You may be the most career driven person you know, but you could have a child and all of a sudden realise that your career is no longer as important to you. You may have been keen to pursue a sport professionally, but an injury may mean it may no longer be as viable. You may have focused on your children, but now the children are older and going to move out. It is important to ensure that your vision evolves as your life evolves.