How To Be Successful On Your Own Terms

I'm sitting here on my couch with some popcorn, watching the Olympics, and I can't help but be humbled and in awe of the athletes and everything they went through to get to these games.

As I watch them compete in what will be the biggest arena of their lives, I have to wonder how they are feeling. What visions are going through their head? The whole world is tuned in to find out who will be standing on the podium with the coveted gold around their neck. 

But what about the athlete who ends up a couple pillars down with the bronze? Or those who went home without any medal at all? Are they a success or failure? 

It's easy for us to become caught up in other peoples vision of success.

From the media and social media, to our jobs and our family, we are always measured on someone else's scale. Yet, if we let someone else tell us what success is and how to accomplish it, we may never be "successful", which leaves us a bit lost. 

Real success is something that Is measured By our own rules.

If you set your own benchmarks for success, you will accomplish more than anyone else telling you where you need to go, what you need to do or who you are supposed to become. Setting your own bar for success doesn't mean that things get easy, there will still be challenges and set backs. But what will happen is when you do finally get to wherever or whatever it is that you were aiming for - you will feel more than you ever could if you played by someone else's rules. 

Draw your own map and plan your own journey. Do it completely on your own terms. Don't let me or anyone tell you whats best for you, because only you know the answer to that. 

Below you will find a visioning exercise that I do every year to help me focus on what matters to me most and reminds me of who I am and where I want to go. I like to set aside time for this exercise/ritual because when I write down my goals they feel more tangible and I can keep coming back to them whenever I have "one of those days". 

Over the years, I've found a couple versions of this exercise across the internet, so I can't take credit for creating it, but I've added my own flavor to it and I encourage you to do the same. 

Here's how it works

Step 1:

Either print out the PDF attached below, or just take a plain, blank piece of paper and fold it in half twice (this way you have 4 sections on the page) 

Step 2: 

At the top of each section, write 4 areas of your life that matter to you most. I chose: Family + Health, Professional Goals, Financial Goals, and Travel + Creativity, but you can also choose any 4 that make the most sense to you and are most relevant for your life. Remember there is no wrong way to do it. 

Step 3:  

Now imagine yourself 5 years from now (or 2 or 10 - this is your worksheet, you do you!) - where do you picture yourself? For each section, write a few statements describing who you are or what you are doing in life 5 years from now. Your thoughts are powerful, and writing down these statements is the first step to making them become more than just a sentence on paper. Write them as if they are already true. 

Like This: 
I do...
I am... 
I make...

Not This:
I think I will...
I might...
It would be nice...

Step 4: 

Make them as specific or as general as you like and be open to the fact that they can (and should) evolve over time. I rewrite mine every year, either refining some as I get closer to achieving them or completely removing them or jotting down new ones. This is your own "map" for success, you'll find new twists and turns along the way. Keep it close by (I have mine pinned by my desk), keep your mind open and always remind yourself of your true north!

I've included a sample of my Vision Sheet to get you started. Oh, and most important - have fun with it! I'd love to know what you think and how your experience was! 


Sample Visioning Worksheet:

5 Years Exercise.png