Are We Re-Defining Success?
Kitty J. Boitnott, PhD, NBCT
Life Strategies, Career Development, & Stress Management Coach
I have just started reading Arianna Huffington's latest book, Thrive. It feels more than a little "serendipitous" that she should come out with this book right as I am launching my new career as a stress management coach.
Unlike Ms. Huffington, I did not have to fall and break anything in order to wake up the fact that I was suffering from a severe case of "burn out," but I can still recall the exact moment when I recognized that I was "out of gas" physically, emotionally, and mentally. I knew on a deep level that I needed a "time out" before trying to start anything new on the heels of winding up my term as President of the Virginia Education Association. As a result, I retired much earlier than I had intended, and I took six months to completely recharge my batteries before endeavoring to move on to the next phase in my life. I don't have the status or stature of Ms. Huffington, but our wake up calls are similar enough to make me wonder if we aren't about to experience a cultural shift where we decide as a society that success is in need of being re-defined.
In addition to her book, Ms. Huffington is also featured in a magazine to which I subscribe. I received my July edition a few days ago, and she is featured in an article entitled, "One-on-One with Arianna Huffington" by Tracey Ann Collins. In that article, Huffington is quoted saying, "The way we currently define success leads to burnout, overwork, lack of sleep and being hyper-connected to technology--all to the detriment of our health, relationships, families and even our careers, and it is not sustainable for any of us." She goes on to say that "Money and power by themselves are like a two-legged stool that will topple over. The biggest question we face right now as a culture is how we redefine success to include a third metric in our lives." And that third metric, according to Huffington, is creating a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder.
I don't know about you, but I believe we may be on the cusp of a real cultural shift with regard to how we define success in our society. It is clear to me, and I suspect it is just as clear to you if you are reading this article, that success isn't just about money or achievement in your career. You only need to look as far as Hollywood to see that celebrities who are at the top of their careers and have more money than they ever dreamed possible are not always happy. Those who are have figured out that happiness comes from being in authentic relationships with those who don't care about their financial status or their celebrity. They are happy when they are surrounded by family and friends who knew them before the fame and who are willing to love them even when the money disappears...and sometimes it does.
We have all heard the cliche that money doesn't buy happiness. Not that not having enough to pay your bills or put food on the table is any fun, either, but there should be a happy medium, shouldn't there? Career satisfaction and success just isn't all there is, at the end of the day. We need to live full, well-rounded lives that include family, friends, romance, fun, and spiritual connection if we are going to be truly happy.
If creating balance in your life feels like a challenge right now, you may be interested in the LIVE Webinar that I will be hosting next Tuesday, June 24th from 7:00-8:30 p.m. EST. The topic is on finding balance in your life and reclaiming time in order to live a more fulfilling life in general. Stay tuned for an invitation to register. It will be coming soon. In the meantime, if you haven't already connected with me on Facebook, I invite you to so by clicking here. You will see links to articles, quotes, and updates that you will find of interest, I believe.