I think about success often. Probably too often. Visualizing myself ten years down the road is one of the best ways I’ve found to get clear on what’s important to me. The problem is I’ve become obsessed with chasing future. Success now feels elusive. It’s become a place I’m working towards but never quite arrive.
A couple weeks ago that began to shift. I was listening to an episode of Death, Sex, and Money that featured singer/songwriters Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires. They were taking questions from fans and sharing their thoughts on love, parenting, and loss. At one point Jason was talking about his past addiction and mentioned the power of ‘success in the present’.
I’d never heard that phrase before and it got me thinking. Why does success have to be a future state? What would happen if I shifted my focus to finding success in the present?
The more I think about it the more it makes sense. When we view success as something to achieve in the future, we’re implying we aren’t successful right now. Filling our sub-conscious with those thoughts is not helping. On top of that, pushing success off gives us permission to chase perfection. Our definitions of success become laundry lists of everything we want to achieve in life. What was meant to be a motivator quickly feels unattainable. We go back to spinning our wheels.
Focusing on success in the present shifts this. Instead of working towards a collection of lofty goals, I spend my time focused on what I can achieve today. Success is no longer a laundry list of perfections. It’s little wins. Real wins. Wins I care about now. And if I can have more successful days in life than unsuccessful ones, I’m pretty damn sure things will work out in the end.
If you’re success oriented, give this reframe a try. Take a break thinking about the future and spend a couple weeks focusing on making each day a success. All it takes is a couple minutes in the morning to think about what would make today a success and a couple minutes at night to reflect on the day itself. Use bite size goals. Celebrate your little wins. I bet you’ll feel liberated. I think you’ll be happier. I hope you’ll let me know how it goes.