Redefine Success

I recently had a conversation with a friend I’ve known for some time. She’s a very accomplished, sophisticated, strategic professional who finds great fulfillment in her work and defines herself, in part, by her career. Needless to say, we have a lot in common! Haha.

Her career, however, has undergone a lot of changes lately. The corporation where she works is going through some major restructuring. Some of her responsibilities are being delegated. Her title is being downgraded (though her pay and expertise in advising peers will remain the same). For a producer who has defined her success by accomplishing tasks and making decisions, the changes haven’t been necessarily welcome or easy to accept, at least at first.

Yet, instead of focusing on all the things she didn’t like or couldn’t change, my friend and I decided that this new reality gave her an opportunity to redefine how she views success. (Hint: it shouldn’t lie in our title or position.)

It’s a crossroads we’ll all face at some point in our careers, if we haven’t been there already, when change happens to us. We didn’t invite it, welcome it, or want it, yet we can’t avoid it regardless of how smart or hard-working or talented we are. It might be a corporate restructuring, an evolving industry, or a down economy, but whatever it is, it impacts the career trajectory we’re on and we’re left to figure out how to deal with our new reality.

Are you at a crossroads? If so, here are some ideas on how you can redefine what success means to you.

  • Relax and focus on impacting others – regardless of how your role has changed.
  • Define yourself by where and who you can bring value to rather than the title you have.
  • Remember that it’s not what you are called, it’s who you’re called to be. Our title is a label, like our name sewn on our shirt. It should not mean anything more, otherwise it can hold us back from being so much more.
  • Understand your new scoreboard. How will you be fulfilled at the end of each day?

I’m so proud of my friend. I’m proud because she is self-aware. She understands her feelings and that she can choose to look at her current circumstances in a positive or negative way. While society places so much emphasis on titles, she has the courage to not define herself by the name on her shirt! Her focus is on impacting others, and we even discussed her keeping track of how many people she can bring value to on a day-to-day basis.

This season is a season of growth for my friend. She’s redefining success and re-calibrating her scoreboard. That’s how we grow!

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