This morning I went to an early morning business meeting where I was provoked into deep thought by a conversation about the different ways success can be measured. The woman next to me expressed her concern with how there often seems to be such emphasis on making huge amounts of money as the major indicator of success in business. Not long after the meeting I had a conversation with another young woman in business who confirmed my thoughts that we all measure success in a way that supports our values, and our values are often different.
So, what are values, and how are they related to success?
The Thesaurus (on my Microsoft package) tells us that values are “principles, standards, morals, ethics, and ideals”. For me, a true value is something that is in alignment with where my soul wants me to be. I also see values as something we form strong opinions around as a result of significant experiences.
Values can of course be inherited, or even projected onto us. As a child you may have felt compelled to adopt the values of your parents and family, or the culture you were brought up in. Perhaps you even sought approval outside of yourself as a measure of your success.
From a very young age most of us are taught to compete for recognition of our achievements and success, for example, through academic, sporting and artistic arenas. We are rewarded for being seen as being ‘better than’ someone else, and those who do not win are not seen to be externally rewarded. However, they may be quietly rewarding themselves for having a go or achieving a personal ‘best’.
Our working environment is also an arena where success is often rewarded in the form of financial incentives and commissions in sales. As an adult you may choose to work in an environment where your values are compromised in order to provide security. However, there will come a time when you may decide to be guided by principles that you aspire to, and consciously develop your own code of ethics around how you want to walk in the world. You may decide to live by your values and observe and attempt to understand how others are affected by your values, without feeling the need to change them in order to be seen as successful by those around you. Or you might choose to invest you money and time into services and products that are created by people and organisations who share your values.
Success can be found in a myriad of ways, within multiple internal and external arenas in our life. There are several ‘parts’ of life where we can ask ourselves if we are achieving goals and manifesting dreams, and these may be indicators that we are creating positive experiences.
The framework I use to evaluate growth and expansion is as follows:
- Body – physical health and material wealth – what we can see, touch, and feel in our external world, the place of growth, action and production
- Heart – emotional health within loving relationships and nurturing connection with self and others, this is also the place of resilience and open-heartedness
- Mind – mental health – effective communication, (this may be non-verbal and/or telepathic), clear goals and long-term planning with the capacity to still be mindful and grounded in the present
- Spirit – sexual/creative energy and spiritual well-being, creating joy and lifting spirit; self-confidence, purposeful, and sense of making a difference – universal connection
In the end, when all is said and done, each person has a choice in how they put value on success. For example, a person with few material possessions can feel hugely successful if they appreciate the simple things in life and aim to make a light footprint on the earth in an environmental sense. On the other hand, someone else may measure their success by how much money they have to create the life they want and feel they deserve. Another person may see their capacity to survive trauma and hardship by keeping their heart open and trusting in the divine plan as a measure for success in resilience and fortitude. Then there are those who may measure success as being their capacity ‘to be present’ and in command in all situations, and to take responsibility and credit for the outcomes they set out to achieve.
We are all different, and when we learn to value and accept difference, and that each person had their own driver toward an understanding of success, we create harmony and unconditional love within and around us.
While not able to be converted into money, a practical source of energy, the creation of harmony and unconditional love may be seen by some as an essential and positive energy force, perhaps even as much as or more than financial success.
Ultimately there is no-one except you who can decide what your values are and decide if you are successful or not.
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