It’s easy to make life into a checklist.
- Furry Baby and/or Biological Offspring
- Stable job
- Loving relationship(s)
The line items are tangible and feel concrete and attainable. But what happens after you check each one off?
How do you measure success then?
Do you change to a certain number in the bank account or IRA?
Do you expand the size of your garage, family or purchases?
Do you upgrade your upgrade?
Can you ever really have it all?
I recently was coaching a fellow physician who from an external perspective “has it all.” She’s at a prestigious academic center as an awesome sub-specialist. She had done all the things on her checklist but had come to me because she felt stuck, undervalued and unfulfilled.
When I asked her the question, “What do you really want in your life?”, she felt a sense of panic and gloom then answered, “Am I just selfish for wanting more? For not being satisfied that I achieved my goals?”
And so the same thing I asked her, I ask you, “Maybe it’s time to redefine success. How would you set up your checklist now?”
Would it include more quality rather than quantity of things or people in your life?
What if you prioritized measuring joy and fulfillment rather than achievements?
Could pieces of your list actually be taking away instead of adding happiness?
You get to decide what is success
It’s totally ok to want nice things and to check off tangibles on your list. What’s not ok is sacrificing your life’s purpose (which is what ultimately brings you happiness and satisfaction) to pursue them.
It’s also not ok to let yourself pivot once you have reached those goals. You change, life changes, goals get to change too.
We all have to course correct every now and again. One of the best questions to do this is ask, “Does the life I’m living align with my values and who I am at my core?”
I’ll leave you with a mantra: External validation is nice, but _____ makes me truly happy.
Fill in that blank with whatever makes the most sense to you. And then prioritize the heck out of it!