As you’re perusing the LP blog this month you will encounter articles about success. I’d like to tackle the portion of success we don’t investigate as often. Success is primarily associated with the act of achieving goals; however, we forget it is also the act of achieving one’s purpose. While goal setting is necessary, and the accomplishment of doing so admirable, there is another vital and often overlooked aspect of success – purpose. Typically, we associate success with a list of to-do’s that once accomplished will bring us confirmation that we’re doing just fine. Frequently, these goals are set solely in the material world. For example: find meaning in a job, save enough money for a sweet vacation, or finish a home improvement project with ease. After you’ve hustled and rushed to check all the boxes on your to do list, what are you left with – some relief, a little validation, and maybe a glass of wine? Here’s the thing… I don’t buy it. I’ve chosen to opt out of this busy type of success because achieving for the sole sake of doing so, for another’s approval or a paycheck, isn’t worth it.
Here’s what I know to be true. Success has a sister and she wants you to forget about your to-do lists, your calendars, planners, and tasks. All she demands is for you to be here and now, in the present moment.
This is the often ignored, but critically necessary portion of success. Here success is in being purposeful and mindful with each day of life. It is in looking back at your life, and accepting how you have done so far. And lastly, it is in evaluating your work as it is, in all its glory and with its flaws, and owning both.
Evaluating one’s mistakes and learning in them is necessary for growth, but once that work is done… let it go! You’ve owned it now you can leave it behind you. This practice of awareness and evaluation is really an act of self-love. It isn’t forgetting where you’ve been, and how hard it was because let’s face it – life is tough sometimes! When you really think about it, how can we be present for life today if we haven’t accepted how we came to be who we are? How can we be ready for the adventures and opportunities life holds, if we aren’t present here and now? In order to be purposeful today, you’ve got to make peace with the past.
So there you have it… the alternative, irreverent sister to mainstream success. When the concept of purpose is tied to the goals we have for ourselves, we can achieve anything we want.
"When success is viewed as the practical application of radical self-love, it is healthy and focused." And it's not just a productive hustle. So the next time you’re tempted by the flashy concept of busy, just remember the full definition of success.... looking back at the past and knowing it’s done, and taking all you have learned and applying it to the present moment.
Brooke Petit is a recent graduate of Providence College, where she studied Sociology and interned with three nonprofit organizations. She currently works in philanthropy and is interested in public policy, data analysis, social change and applied sociology. Brooke is a snail mail enthusiast, loves electro/future funk music, supports American handmade crafts, is always craving iced green tea from Starbucks, and practices mindfulness meditation as often as possible. Connect with her professionally on LinkedIn and personally on Instagram.