Research Paper By Ali Taqi
(Life Coach, BAHRAIN)
What is success? (Lexico, 2020)
- the accomplishment of an aim or purpose
- the attainment of fame, wealth, or social status
- a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame, wealth, etc
Within society, success tends to be defined financially and is most closely associated with the breadwinner of the family; the person who earns most of the money allowing the family to survive(Kagan, 2019). Socially, people have been programmed to follow a specific structure: study àwork àretire. Over generations, however, it seems that this perception has changed. Most baby boomers held this belief regarding success, and this was passed on to the generations that followed. As millennials are exposed to the dynamic, unpredictable world, these beliefs surrounding success started to change.
The reason for this change is linked to globalization; people have become more exposed to a diversity of ideas and cultures as the world is brought closer together. Social media plays a major role in influencing people’s outlook on success. There is generally a tendency to observe others across different social media platforms and compare them in order to identify what is missing in one’s own life. From there, people build false assumptions around happiness and “success” and the ease with which it can be attained the glamour of success is divided into three identities:
- I follow individuals that want what others have, thinking it would lead to happiness.
- I want, wanting to survive/wanting that lifestyle/wanting that income. Exposure to how other people are living creates that want leaving people unsatisfied with what they have.
- I’m inspired, certain individuals use the success that others pursue as a motivation to drive themselves towards their success.
No instinct tells him what he has to do, and no tradition tells him what he ought to do; sometimes he does not even know what he wishes to do. Instead, he either wishes to do what other people do (conformism) or he does what other people wish him to do (totalitarianism). (Frankl, 2006)
Another impact of success would be speed. Given the fast pace of life, people expect to see results quickly and people yearn to achieve the success they desire as quickly as possible. Retirement – the final chapter, many individuals “can’t wait to retire” thinking that the concern free life sits there waiting. Stopping the daily routine, people soon find themselves in a far worse situation than what they had expected. Yet, others find the luxury of time to finally pursue a passion or a dream. Humans are spiritual beings – you are either growing or you are dying. Some continue to set goals to find ways to grow and accomplish, while others stop growing likened to deteriorating or dying, eventually leading to different forms of lifestyle-related diseases.
What’s the solution?
In a life filled with distractions, many find it challenging to find the time to understand themselves. Success, when understood from an individual perspective, is defined and measured differently. Yet, for each person to reach that level of understanding, there are several steps that must be taken.
Within a coaching journey, a client would learn to uncover several truths about themselves. The more an individual is aware of the identity that defines them, the more clearly they would understand how to anticipate the journey of life and achieve a sense of fulfillment.
Success is a measurement of the degree to which the different pillars that constitute people’s lives are fulfilled. It seems that many associate successes with financial gain, believing that when one achieves it, the other pillars are fulfilled, eventually leading towards happiness.
The starting point is always to be clearly aware of the result one seeks. Having a clear understanding of the ultimate goal is a crucial part of the journey. People find it challenging to identify this and many do not even know where to start. The beauty of a coaching journey is in the use of several methods to help uncover this.
If these methods were summarized in simple steps, the first would be identifying what core values represent the client. Values are a representation of the meanings and beliefs that he or she holds within. Oftentimes, these are embedded from childhood and may be influenced by their surroundings. As we go through life and we experience it, we start to change our lenses and develop new values and principles that better resonate with who we are. This is the result of the person becoming more aware of themselves. They are, therefore, better placed to set the values/principles to be aligned with their being and identity. This brings us to the next point: self-awareness.
Self-awareness what is it?
It can be defined and examined from several angles; essentially, it is being in control of one’s thoughts and understanding – the trigger behind the behavior.
The problem is when we’re on autopilot for so long that we forget we’re on autopilot. Because when we’re not even aware of our habits, routines, impulses, and reactions, then we no longer control them; they control us. Whereas a person with self-awareness can exercise a little meta-cognition. (Manson, 2018)
Having a clear understanding of one’s self allows choices and decisions to be well aligned with the values and principles that define one’s own identity. Throughout a coaching journey, the client starts to gain clarity and develop a higher level of self-awareness, discovering what defines them. Self-awareness can be defined by the following psychological functions (MyersBriggs, 2020):
- Favorite world –Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or your inner world?
- Information –Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning?
- Decisions –When making decisions, do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special circumstances?
- Structure –In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided, or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options?
Moreover, Carol Dweck displays it quite astonishingly in her book Mindset(Dweck, 2019). Where she defines the mind into two different forms:
- Fixed Mindset: a pessimist, a person can’t seem to find a solution to the situation they are in and focus more towards blaming others and not taking responsibility and accepting.
- Growth Mindset: the exact opposite, the person is very positive and has an open mind to the circumstances that occur around them. They take responsibility and are solution-oriented.
When an individual achieves a mesh between the psychological functions and the two different mindsets, their level of self-awareness is clear, and they develop skills that enable them to switch from one state to the other. As part of our human nature, people tend to forget that as much as one develops and becomes more self-aware, they do sometimes find themselves trapped in a fixed mindset. Coaching clients expand their skills development and allow them to spot those moments and create solutions to shift their mindset.
With achieving awareness, clients identify the things that resonate with them most; what excites them, and energizes them. Understanding that energy makes it easy to work with a plan that is well-aligned with the individual’s frequency. This, in turn, leads to the final draw which is creating the goal. To embark on a journey of success, the initial key is setting the goal, as Simon Sinek states in his book “Start with WHY”:
WHY: Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. When I say WHY I don’t mean to make money—that’s a result. By WHY I mean what is your purpose, cause, or belief? WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care? (Sinek, 2009)
Having clarity on the WHY a person wants to achieve a specific goal, then devising a plan to achieve it is followed by establishing WHAT is going to be delivered to the end consumer, the community, or the globe. This identifies what a person will help to create and what they will contribute to this web of life we live in(LeadershipSkills, 2008). What’s important is that there are joy and happiness in what is created. This is because joy and happiness bring balance to life, allowing us to achieve serenity in the different pillars that serve us. A great measurement tool is the Wheel of Life. Clients start by measuring the different pillars of their lives, giving them a clear picture of the different areas that require the most attention.
Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by so doing can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a BURNING DESIRE TO WIN, essential to success. (Hill, 2016)
Success can be in small things that a person values; even if they might have failed in other endeavors, this does not make them unsuccessful. Success is more like having a holistic measure of the different values/pillars that represent your life. Those pillars differ from one person to another. “Success is defined as a balanced achievement of wealth and well-being through consistently living the truth of one’s’ grace-inspired values” as Linda Zander describes in Why Your Definition of Success Is Broken And Keeping You From Success(Zander, 2018). A lot of times people embark on a journey aiming to hit the success button. What tends to happen is they miss out on other beautiful things that define their lives. The whole idea behind this is that we start to wear a new pair of lenses, which defines the true nature of who we are. This allows us to reflect on what we value in life and to be more aware of our energy levels. Energy is reflected through our emotions; this is the main indicator that resonates with our paradigm. Coaching has had a major impact on me personally – as I became aware, I was able to create the WHY that defines who I am and serves my purpose. With the skills that we have embodied as coaches, we aim to pass on the same experience to many people around us. This is achieved by shedding a light on their life, enabling them to find a balance that will give them the life they seek and desire.
I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul!(Hill, 2016)
Dweck, D. C. (2019). Mindset. Narrated by (Bernadette Dunne). United Kingdom: Hachette Audio UK. Audiobook.
Frankl, V. (2006). Man’s Search for Meaning. Boston: Beacon Press. Kindle Edition.
Hill, N. (2016). Think and Grow Rich. New Delhi, India: GENERAL PRESS. Kindle Edition.
Kagan, J. (2019, December 3). Breadwinner. Retrieved from Investopedia: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/breadwinner.asp
LeadershipSkills. (2008, May 3). The Real Meaning of Success with Deepak Chopra. Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwMXtWwqv6k&feature=youtu.be
Lexico. (2020). lexico.com/en/definition/success. Retrieved from lexico.com: https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/success
Manson, M. (2018, May 3). The Three Levels of Self-Awareness. Retrieved from Mark Manson: https://markmanson.net/self-awareness
Maxwell, J. C. (2015). Intentional Living: Choosing a Life That Matters (Narrated by John C Maxwell). USA: Hachette Audio. Audiobook.
MyersBriggs. (2020). MBTI Basics. Retrieved from MBTI: https://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/home.htm?bhcp=1
Sinek, S. (2009). Start With Why. United Kingdom: Penguin Random House.
Zander, L. (2018, February 14). Why Your Definition of Success Is Broken And Keeping You From Success. Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/02/14/why-your-definition-of-success-is-broken-and-keeping-you-from-success/#474eafe3f47d