What’s Your Version of Success?
There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action. Because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it! – Martha Graham
I was coaching a young man who wanted to determine his next work move. He was pumped to create a videography business. I could hear his enthusiasm when he spoke about it. His eyes lit up and hands became animated when he talked about his plans. It was as if his whole body responded positively to his career goals.
Then one day he came to a session and announced that he would be going to engineering school instead. His father had convinced him—at least for the time—that he could not make a living with photography and videography.
Well, I may have been able to accept that except that his demeanor deflated when he shared the news.
“Are you excited about it?” I asked him.
“No, not really,” he replied.
I asked a few more questions and then pointed out to him what I had noticed.
“May I ask you to notice your body, your language, your voice for one moment?” I paused to gauge his response. “You hate the idea!”
He agreed. We talked a little more, and he realized how important his dream was. He found a way to share his commitment with his dad. And guess what? Yep, now he has a successful videography business.
Find Your Life Purpose—and Follow It
I believe we all have a destiny and that we possess gifts that this world needs. When we know what juices us, we can determine how we want to make a difference in the world in our lifetime. Then all the other pieces of our life start lining up. Life flows. And the world benefits from our contribution.
Unfortunately, many of us buy into another’s version of success. It’s very seductive to be successful and appreciated by external forces, and yet if we challenge ourselves, we may find an outside definition of success no longer serves us.
We need to ask: Where am I? Where am I going? Is this bringing me joy? If we don’t like the answers, then we need to ask ourselves: Who am I really? Why am I here? And what am I truly capable of? Expressing our full selves brings unbounded joy for us and others.
These are high-level, philosophical questions that can open you up for a more specific inquiry. Once you become aware of any discontent you may be experiencing, begin to wonder about options with these questions:
• What enlivened you as a child that would juice you to try again now—somehow, some way, even as a hobby or for an afternoon?
• What excites you so much that you would pursue it even without compensation?
• What stops you from following your passion?
• What is the one next-right-move you can take toward your dream?
The Body Never Lies
There are many ways to process the information you get from asking these questions. The obvious—and most common—is to think it through. And you should. But once you’ve come to what might be your answer, take a somatic approach. How do you feel in your body when you consider the result of a logical inquiry?
Such a somatic response has been called “whole-body wisdom” or looking for a “full-body yes.” It engages your head, your heart, your gut—your whole body.
To live in alignment with your body’s wisdom, be fully present when you make choices. Gather all the data—reports, research, others’ input—and think about it. Then get quiet, close your eyes, and feel into the question. What does your gut tell you? This is the classic “gut feeling.” It is your intuition speaking. This is your answer.
I dare say if you honor your somatic response, you will be energized and committed to the task ahead. You will activate your intuition. Your life will flow. And you just might deliver into the world that which no one else can.