• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Are you holding on to a version of success that needs to be redefined?

Finding your path to clarity, purpose, and success in turbulent times

“Your power to choose the direction of your life allows you to reinvent yourself,

to change your future, and to powerfully influence the rest of creation.”

Stephen Convey

A client left her corporate executive job! She walked away from what she thought she always wanted, strived to achieve, and achieved! She said she was always chasing her next bonus, review, promotion, and title. Meanwhile, her other life was happening outside of her office. She felt like a stranger in her own home, with her partner, children, and friends. Every step she took toward that ‘next’ was a step that took her away from what she loved most. She had lost touch with all life outside of work. She found herself feeling unfulfilled and overwhelmed by the job demands as she realised other important aspects of her life, such as her personal well-being, relationships, and pursuing her passions outside of work were being neglected. She had to find a more holistic approach in how she defined success instead of solely valuing career achievement. She had come to the realisation of what mattered most and decided to redefine her meaning of success.

Society often imposes external expectations and comparisons that can lead to stress, anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy. Success is often associated with achieving goals, but it is important to recognise that it can mean different things to different people based on their values and perspectives. Success is the accomplishment of a goal or the achievement of a desired outcome. It involves reaching a level of fulfillment, satisfaction, or accomplishment in a particular area of life, whether it is personal, professional, academic, or creative. Success can encompass career achievements, personal growth, meaningful relationships, happiness, well-being, and making a positive impact on others or society. Your definition of success should align with your own goals, passions, and the life you envision for yourself.

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When you follow a traditional definition of success, here are a few ways this impact can manifest:

Gender bias and stereotypes: Traditional notions of success often align with masculine trait and behaviour stereotypes, such as, assertiveness, competitiveness, and long work hours. Women may feel pressured to conform to these expectations, leading to a disagreement and the perception that they must adopt male-oriented approaches to succeed. Know who you are and be unapologetically you!

Work-life balance challenges: A narrow definition of success that prioritises career advancement above all else can pose challenges for women who may also desire a fulfilling personal life, including family and caregiving responsibilities. Striving for work-life integration and establishing supportive environments become crucial considerations. You do not have to give up on one to have the other. Set your boundaries!

Lack of representation and role models: When the prevailing definition of success is based on male achievements, it can create a scarcity of visible role models for women in leadership positions. This lack of representation can undermine confidence, limit access to mentorship, and perpetuate gender disparities in executive roles. Be intentional about having a strong inner circle to lean on!

Redefining success allows you to a) balance external and personal achievements, b) acknowledge and honour individual diverse paths and goals and not feel forced to abide by perceived norms, c) promote a more holistic approach to well-being, d) challenge and overcome societal pressure and expectations, and e) prioritise sustainable and meaningful impact leaving a legacy over short-term immediate gains. To look differently at the meaning of success, consider the following:

Authenticity and individuality: Embrace your authenticity and focus on the impact you want to make based on your unique strengths, values, and aspirations. Do not conform to traditional norms.

Reevaluate metrics: Broaden the definition of success beyond financial gains and hierarchical advancements to include personal growth, work-life balance, positive relationships, and making a meaningful difference in your field or community.

Collaboration and support: Foster networks and communities that uplift and empower women. Seek mentorship and sponsorship from both women and men who champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Redefine leadership qualities: Challenge traditional notions of leadership and recognise the value of diverse leadership styles and perspectives. Embrace empathy, collaboration, emotional intelligence, and inclusive decision-making as essential leadership qualities.

By redefining success on your own terms and supporting a more inclusive definition of success for all, women executives can thrive and inspire future generations of leaders. Remember, success is a deeply personal concept, and it’s important to define it in a way that resonates with your values, aspirations, and unique circumstances.

“Success comes from the inside out. To change what is on the outside, you must first change what is on the inside.” Idowu Koyenikan