Episode 15 – Redefining Success

What does success mean to you? What does a successful day look like to you?  What does a successful marriage look like to you?  Most of the time we define success with achieving these great goals and often we hang that success on things we can not control.  In today’s podcast episode, we are redefining success.  I bet you are a lot more successful than you think you are!

How do you define success?  Comment below!

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Show Summary:

Today I want to talk about success.  What does success mean to you? What does a successful day look like to you?  What does a successful marriage look like to you?  Most of the time we define success with achieving these great goals and often we hang that success on things we can not control.  Then when something doesn’t work we feel awful about ourselves.

Let me share with a personal example.  I’ve mentioned before, but I was married to my first husband for 13-1/2 years.  That marriage ended in divorce.  The world, and a lot of people in it, consider that a failure.  For a long time I felt like a failure because that marriage ended.  But what I’ve come to understand and realize, is that I can feel like a failure because I got divorced if I choose to, or I can redefine what a successful marriage means to me.

So now, when I think about my 1st marriage, I don’t think about it being a failure.  I consider it a success!  

Wait what?  Amanda…I thought you said that marriage ended?  How can it be a success?

The reason I consider it a success is because of how I behaved in the marriage.  What I controlled in the marriage.

Before I got divorced it was very important to me that I be able to look back and say “I did EVERYTHING I could to make it work” and I truly feel like I did everything I knew how to do at the time to make it work.  

  1. I kept my covenants
  2. I was willing to work on the marriage in every way possible
  3. and I loved him as best as I could

And even though, at the time, I felt like I was doing everything I possibly could to do what he wanted me to so that he could be happy, I know that I could have never made him happy  Only he can do that.  Only he could make the changes he needed to make in order to be happy and it really had nothing to do with me.

So when I look back on that marriage – I look at my own behavior and what I could control and I consider it successful.

So how are you currently defining success?  Are you basing your definition on things you have control over?  Or are you basing them on others, how they act and their emotions?

I have a client who is struggling in her role as a wife and a new mother.  She had all these expectations of herself, her home, her marriage and according to her she was failing miserably.  Her days never went as she wanted.  The baby took up so much time she couldn’t get done the things she needed to get done to feel successful.  Her husband would come home mad because the house was a mess.  She was failing (according to her).

I introduced a concept to her I learned from my coach called B- work.  I think most of us shoot for A+ work.  And if we don’t make that we feel awful.  We feel like failures.  But what if you just shoot for B- work?  That usually pretty doable.  And if you look at things on an overall scale, some days you can maybe get A+ work and some days you get D work, but it averages out to about B-….so you’re good!

I asked my client to redefine what success looks like that is something SHE can control and feel good about.  Maybe it could be that her baby is alive and she offered food and she did the dishes that day.  And if she did that, it was a success!  She wondered about her husband, but I reminded her about what we’ve talked about in previous podcasts…. she can’t control his emotions.  That’s his business.  If he wants to be mad, that’s fine.  Let him be mad.  But she can count her day as successful.  And if she was able to get accomplished more than keeping her baby alive, offering her food, and doing the dishes it was an even MORE successful day!

So let’s look at what we can define as a successful marriage.  Now yours may be different, but I will tell you what my definition is.

  1. I keep my vows and covenants
  2. I love him unconditionally

That’s it.  Those are things I can control.  That’s how I can feel successful.  If I can do other things beyond that, GREAT!  If I can’t…. if I lay my head down on my pillow at night and say “today I kept my covenants and I loved him unconditionally” then I had a successful day.  Even if he was mad.  Even if I was upset about something.  As long as I did those two things, I’m successful.

So we talked a little bit about B- work I want to talk a little bit about perfectionism.  I hear this a lot, that people are perfectionists.  They want everything to be perfect and if its not, then they feel they are a failure.  Perfectionism isn’t doing just about doing your best.  It’s actually depriving yourself of the feelings of satisfaction, joy, and fulfillment. And rather than having a realistic gauge of what is good and done and complete, we nitpick and see all the imperfections and everything that is wrong.  We are NEVER done.  Nothing is EVER complete.  Because its not perfect.  So if nothing is ever done or complete how do we feel accomplished and successful?  We don’t!

Perfectionism is really a fear of not being enough.  That our value as a person is conditional on what we do.  

Now do we want to go to the other extreme and not try? not care? No!

So what I propose to you today is that you set realistic goals, have realistic definitions of what success is and then strive for excellence.  You strive to do your best.

Without a goal, there can be no real success – Thomas S. Monson

So your BEST is NOT perfection.  

I also want you to see that even if you don’t completely reach those goals, the fact that you are even striving for them is making you better.  You are a better person just for making the decision to strive for excellence.

Each day is a day of decision – Russel M Nelson

So I want you to sit down with a pen and paper this week and write down YOUR reasonable definition for success areas of your life.  Write down your definition of success in your home, with your children, and in your marriage.  Make sure they are things that are attainable and within your control.  Remember you can not control others, their actions, or their emotions.  These definitions are about YOU.

So when you write those down, I want you to set that intention each morning and strive for them each day.  After you’ve done them for a week or so, tell me in the comments what your definitions were, how you did through the week, and how you are feeling about it now.  I can’t wait to hear!

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