Hey TSC readers, it’s been a while! Well I am back and I wanted to write a post about success, career success specifically. This post will primarily deal with what makes us tick in the work place. What drives us to pursue the careers we choose and what motivates us to get up every day and pursue the careers we have chosen.
So here we go!
Have you ever stopped and thought to yourself:
“What the F am I doing this for? What am I really trying to accomplish with this job/business? Is this what I really want to be doing?”
Most off the cuff answers have to do with finances. Making money. Paying the bills. Making a living. The real answer lies within the last part of the answer, which is the part about living. You have to live a life that makes you truly happy or the rest becomes irrelevant. You get one shot at this life.
I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately ( I know, so enlightened right? ). What makes me tick, what drives me to be the person I want to be. What motivates me to grow our businesses and expand our brands?
What does success look like? What does it mean?
If you would have asked me those questions 2-3 years ago I would have had some really shitty answers and told you success was defined by money, power, acquisition, and expansion.
As defined by others:
• Money, the measurement of my worth.
• Power, the measurement of my influence.
• Acquisition, the measurement of status.
• Expansion, the measurement of legacy.
Hopefully as you read that you thought to yourself… Wow those are really terrible things to measure your life by. I completely agree. I would also not be shocked to learn that at one point or another you thought along the same lines or still do.
Our current culture causes a lot of confusion and makes it difficult for us to define success and happiness as WE DEFINE IT. We are constantly reminded of what we don’t have, what we haven’t done, who is further along, and what we are missing out on. It puts us in a space of confusion and despair if we fail to acquire the clarity to really figure out what makes us tick.
I think it has a lot to do with the internal questions we ask ourselves. Have you ever stopped, and I mean literally stopped to think…
“What am I doing this for? Why the hell is this even important to me? Do I really give a shit what any of these people think? Do I really need any of this stuff? Do I even like what I do?”
We get up in the morning and head out the door to get on the hamster wheel of life because we think it’s what we’re supposed to be doing. We never really stop and think, is this what I actually want to be doing? Does this job/business make sense for me?
College, our jobs, and the way we dress. The way we act, the stuff we buy, the places we go, and the people we try to impress. At some point we have to stop and think to ourselves…“Is this right for me?” Is this what I really want to be doing and are the reasons for doing this really the right reasons for me?
About two years ago I had a life-altering epiphany. I started asking myself some new questions. The answers I came to completely changed the way I measure success. It was like a huge light bulb turned on in my brain. I realized that almost every single measurement I had to calculate my worth was wrong ( at least for me ). The reasons for pursuing my goals were the wrong reasons. My actions were mapping to a very unhappy future ( again, for me ). Every time I would hit a goal I thought would make me happy I found myself thinking, what’s next? I had no fulfillment. I couldn’t stop to enjoy a moment because I was constantly looking around the bend for the next one.
I was a total douchebag.
Financially everything was looking good, money rolling in, business growing, new opportunities, everything on the up and up…or so I thought.
Why wasn’t I getting happier? Why did I feel let down? Even disappointed. What the hell?!
The way I was measuring success was completely messed up, and my reasons for pursuing my goals were the wrong reasons.
When you measure success in material ways you will never be fulfilled. When you measure success based on what other people think, you will never be happy. When you measure success on bullshit milestones that nobody else cares about you will constantly be let down. When you are confused about the reasons for pursuing your goals you have no compass to guide you through the storm. Things get tough and you get depressed or give up.
Sure, you will have bursts of happiness, and bursts of fulfillment but eventually those highs will wear off and you will have to start all over.
There is always another level, always a better item, always a better place, always someone new to try and impress, always something MORE. So you never enjoy the milestones because you tell yourself there is always something better, this one wasn’t enough.
We get caught up in the momentum, grow up, get out of school, get a job or start a business, pursue a career that we fall into, get a little taste of success and think to ourselves:
“This is what I am supposed to be doing.”
This is where things can go wrong real fast. We think that because we are hitting goals and milestones that fall into society norms, we are then successful. We can go months, years, even decades before we stop and realize that this definition of success may not be right for us.
So what’s the answer? The answer, in my humble opinion, is to find your definition of success. This is going to require some real honest internal conversation. You are going to have to ask yourself the tough questions and dig deep for the real answers.
If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it’s this:
There is more than one way to skin a cat but you have to know WHY you are skinning the cat.
In my own life I realized I was working hard, I was financially solid, I was comfortable, but I wasn’t really happy about it. I found myself buying and doing things that I really didn’t care about with people I didn’t care about because I thought that’s what you did with success.
I WAS WRONG.
Every strategy works but not every strategy works for everyone. The strategy that will work the best is the one that works for you. The best measurement for success is the measurement that makes you happy. The best reason is the reason that gets YOU out of bed every morning, excited to do whatever it is you are going to do.
THE PROBLEM IS THAT WE RARELY STOP TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THESE ANSWERS ARE. WE DON’T TAKE THE TIME TO FIGURE OUT OUR MEASUREMENTS OR REASONS.
Life is hard, work is tough, and business is competitive. You are going to get stressed; you are going to have moments of doubt. Why go through the emotional roller coaster for something you don’t like? Why stress about goals and metrics that you don’t care about? Why worry about what others think you should be doing? They aren’t walking in your shoes every day. It’s time to dig deep and figure out what you really care about and what’s really going to drive you to true success ( again as defined by YOU! ).
I hope this post triggers something to help you find your reason to set you on the path for success as you define it. For those of you that have found your calling and are well on your way to success, I hope this is a good reminder. For those of you that haven’t, why not start now? Below is a list of ten questions that helped right my lost ship. Good luck!
10 Life Altering Questions to help you find your reasons and define your success:
1. Who am I really doing this for? Is it for me? Is it for someone else?
2. What is the reason for pursuing this career? Is it purely financial or is this something I can see myself doing for a long period of time?
3. Will I feel good about what I am doing in 10, 20, 30 years? Can I Tell my future children about this and be proud?
4. If I stopped doing this, what would really happen and who would really care?
5. Are these my goals? Is this my definition of success? Or is this someone else’s definition of success and goal standard? Are these healthy goals and success metrics?
6. Are the people around me contributing to my true definition of success or trapping me in their definition of success?
7. Does the income from this job/business enhance my life or trap me in a life I’m not so sure about?
8. Could I do something else for less money for a while to set myself up to be happy later?
9. What do I need to earn to live my ideal life as I define ideal? What are the steps I could take to earn what I need for this life and be happy?
10. Is there something I could do this year on the side that I love that could eventually be a full time thing over time?
Until next time- michael
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36 replies to “More Than One Way to Skin a Cat… But Why Are You Skinning The Cat?”
Okay I don’t want to sound dramatic but honestly I have felt lost for MONTHS. Months, months, months and I think sometimes I let society dictate the life I “should” lead that I kind of forgot to truly question my intentions and goals. This post fucking just turned my world upside down. I legit look up articles on, “What should my career be?” blah blah blah and all the questions are like, “What did you like to do as a child?” “If you had all the money in the world, what would you be doing?” And I felt like an idiot because I couldn’t figure my shit out. Helloooo we all change as children and I have had money where I felt secure and well, and it didn’t change anything because it was all on the surface and societally based. These questions really provoked me and guided me internally. They were the questions I have been looking for but have not been able to find until I just gave up and then this appeared (how life pretty much works, am I right?). Okay after all this talk Jesus, sorry, I just to say thank you!!! Keep doing what you do giving advice because I mean, if anything, you have ONE person that was truly affected by this and has figured out what the hell she is going to do!
Thanks for reading the post! I am glad some of these questions provoked a response from you. They really helped me figure some sh*t out! I appreciate the feedback and good luck with everything!
YESSS!! SO happy this could help you figure out the next step Cassie!! Means so much to hear that. Good luck with everything going forward. I know you got this : ) xx
I really love this post, Michael! I recently went through a HUGE job transition and have decided to do what makes me happy. Its totally terrifying but freeing knowing that I can set up my OWN success.
Thanks for sharing this.
Hi Tessa, Thanks for reading the post and thanks for the comment. I am glad you like the post!
LOVE that you’re going for it Tessa! Good luck with everything, you’ve got this : ) xx
Woah!? looks like you’ve taken a seat under the Bodhi Tree Michael! well actually it is really a refreshing post. I also have this question lately “What stops you from leading and living your dream life?”. As you’ve said, how do we make it worthwhile since we only have one shot at this.
Courtney Bentley || http://www.courtneyvioletbentley.com
haha yea! except in my case I may need more than one tree. Thanks for reading!
That is a great question to add Courtney! Thanks for reading : ) xx
This is exactly what I needed to read today. I am so sick of going to my same job in business every single day for almost three years that I absolutely despise. Some days it seems near impossible to get out of bed and go to the office, but I do because I am trying my hardest to save as much as I can so that I can eventually get out. Hopefully sooner rather than later. About two months ago I started a blog (something I have always wanted to do), but haven’t really gotten serious with it. This post was super inspirational to me to get serious about it, go back into pursuing my own fitness business like I’ve wanted to since I became a trainer and nutritionist, and stop worrying about what I think I should be doing with a MBA and doing what I want to do. Thank you.
Thanks for reading the post and thanks for the comment. Sometimes change is the best thing for us, it can be scary but remember… you can always go back!
YES YES YES!! Glad this could be a push you needed Allison. You got this! x
This post is awesome! Love reading Michael’s story and tips!
Thanks for reading Bailey!
SO happy you enjoyed it Bailey! Thank you for the support. xx
I have been feeling so much like this lately. What am I doing and why am I doing it? What’s the REAL reason behind it. I still struggle with it, I think, because I want to say something super profound…not sure. But, taking the time to define my success is something I need to do .
I agree, I think it’s something everyone should take some time and do. Thanks for reading!
That’s when you start to fall in love with the process and discovering the REAL reason. It changes & grows over time just as you do : ) xx
Your timing on this could not have been more perfect. Thank you for the incredibly wise words that were 100% taken to heart and are going to help me make some MAJOR changes for the better.
Michael – you and Lauryn are seriously the most kickass couple EVER.
Thanks for the feedback. Good luck with your changes! Best.
YES!! SO inspired by YOU. Love that you’re going to make the changes to improve your life. We really appreciate all of your support <3
IMO this realization happens once you’ve reached what are society goals of money and things, which up to that point are yours to. Thirty’s(young) when it happened to me, thirty’s are the best especially when you get off “the hamster wheel.”
It is very eye opening and many never are fortunate enough to seek it out. It is no surprise that you continue to offer such great content to your lucky reader’s, you’re on such a solid track! Impressive post, love it!
Thanks for reading! and thank you for sharing your story.
It really does shift your whole perspective for the better! We appreciate you following along : ) xx
Thank you, Michael. I really appreciate this post. Personally, I am at a crossroads in my life. I’m about to graduate college within the next month and am looking for ‘what’s next.’ I have a million thoughts running through my head about what industry I should get into. I want to do something that I love, but at the same time I know there is hard work that I need to put in so I will have to “start from the bottom.”
My question for you is: what steps did you take right after college? And, what advice would you give yourself at that point?
Thank you for the healthy dose of truth and the thought provoking questions for a self assessment.
Thank you for reading the post and thank you for the compliment. Everyone has to start from the bottom and I actually reccomend doing so. YOu have plenty of time to get to the “top”. Patience. When I got out of college I had similar thoughts. I wanted to do everything as fast as i could. If I could go back in time and give my past self advice it would be this:
“Take your time, practice patience, it’s not a race it’s a marathon. It’s ok to bounce around a little and figure out your path. Don’t worry about what other people think and double down on your strengths.”
Get your hands dirty! Try what interests you and see what sticks, what you have a knack for, what you enjoy. You learn the most from experience! xx
Wow this makes me soooo happy to read. Today is my first day of being BACK in my “side hustle” as a full-time thing. I started my business 3 years ago to get the flexibility and mental stability that I really needed, but I jumped in full-time before I was really ready, and then made a financially *smart* decision to take a full-time gig that I could use to pay the bills while I maximized my downtime working on my business (believe I first got this advice from Crush It… the best). I worked for 2 years in a corporate role that honestly ended up adding a TON to my skills and brought me to the point where I felt confident teaching my business model for my side hustle to other women who REALLY needed to hear this information. So now I get the pleasure of working in my business (home organizing for high-end clientele) and also coaching other people how to get started with their own similar thing, which is the most satisfying and best thing I have ever done in my life. On top of that? I got enough of the taste of the corporate world to see all the fancy-ass success to know the price they pay to get it and how much that basically sucks. I’m crazy about you guys, thanks for the post Michael 🙂
Hi Jen! I am glad this makes you happy and thank you for reading! Thank you for sharing your story!
Congratulations Jen!! Organizing could definitely be my next job LOL. SO impressed by your hustle and commitment. Keep it up & thanks for all of the support! xx
This was such a great article! Thanks for opening up and sharing your view points of success! I do have a question that could be a follow-up post: How did you know you found your passion in life? How did you identify your passion and make it come to fruition?
I have an interesting take on “passion”. I am not sure i have pinpointed my exact passion yet. I know I like helping people, I love business, I love to turn nothing into something and see where it takes me. The thing about passion is this… you can be the most passionate person in the world but when it comes to your career passion will only get you so far. You have to have a plan. You have to execute on that plan and you have to recognize the difference between art/passion and a viable business. That’s not to say you cant pursue art but if you are turning it into a business make sure you have a real plan.
You’ll know because you’ll want to put all of your energy towards it! You can read my tips for figuring out your passion here: http://bit.ly/TSCcheatsheet. Thanks for reading Courtney! xx
I’m at a crossroads too. I’ve been in sales for over 20 years now and I just don’t love it and I’m burned out. The money and flexible schedule is great but quotas and pressure ..I’m over it! I will probably quit and take the summer off. My husband is on board with me taking a bit of a breather to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, lol. Right now I just want to do yoga and not wear mascara and heels everyday.
I love this article! It reflects so much of what I’ve been thinking of lately. My biggest question is: how do you know when it’s time to jump off your wagon? I’m happy where I’m at but I know it’s not forever – it’s an interesting stepping stone to something else. I’m still not sure what that “something else is” and I’m not sure at what point I need to take a risk and change directions. Any guidance on that?
Your blog and platform is new to me, I came across it through the balance blonde podcast a couple weeks back. I love how real and diverse it is! This post was so great and makes me think of my fav tony robbins quote “success without fullfilment is the ultimate failure.” keep it up!
Your new reader, Cara