Success or a Successful Life? What's the difference?

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My clients want to be a success. Who doesn't? But what does that mean? Many people benchmark success as achieving one pinnacle goal. For some, it's money, other's focus on their career, for a few, it's power, or prestige, or a big house, or an Ivy League education. But focusing on just one measure can be costly, and at the end of the day, the price of attaining the corner office may be too much. 

My book club just finished reading Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill by Sonia Purnell. We had a lively discussion about Mrs. Churchill and her husband, and while we admired their contribution to England's war efforts, we saw the tremendous cost of their singular attention to political power.

To BE a success requires dedication, focus, and sacrifice and extracts a price. Instead, maybe we should be exploring how to live successfully.  I have helped my clients define their version of a successful life using a tool called, The Wheel of Life. It's a fun exercise and it can lead to useful insights.

Draw a big circle and divide it into six segments. Label the segments Time, Opportunity, Needs, Relationships, Challenges, and Health. 

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Time- How much control you have over how you spend your time. Can you create an overall schedule that allows you to attend to work, family, fun, relationships, health and other obligations?
Opportunity- Do you acquire new skills? Does work excite you? Can you explore cultures, meet new people, find ways to expand horizons and be enriched and actively engaged?
Needs- Basic needs vary for all of us, but are you able to provide beyond your basic needs so you live without anxiety and can afford new experiences?
Relationships- We are social creatures and connecting with others is a source of joy. Do you sustain relationships over time and have the capacity, time and emotional resources to support long-term relationships and develop new ones?.
Health- Do engage physically with the world and have the time, the desire and the capacity to move and enjoy your body's gifts?
Challenges- No one gets out of here alive. We will face loss and have to handle adversity. Will you be able to show up in those times with curiosity and support of others?

The center of the circle is zero, and the outside edge is a 10. Now, draw a horizontal line across each section indicating how SATISFIED you are with that segment. For example, if you feel that you have time to do things that matter to you, then you may draw your line near the outside edge, at the 8 or 9 section.  Continue this for all six segments. 

How does your wheel look? Is it mostly round or are there segments where you are genuinely dissatisfied? Remember the horizontal line does not represent an absolute value, but your level of satisfaction. For example, a broken arm may interfere with your ability to exercise, but you can still be satisfied with what you can do within the limits of exercising while your arm is mending. 

Live Successfully.  Meet your needs without sacrificing new opportunities, nourish relationships and find time for yourself, be healthy and build capacity to accept challenges. With planning, self-awareness and support your life can be abundant, full, and exciting. I have helped clients explore their version of a successful life. Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute session if you would like to begin this conversation.