Success – what does that mean to you?

I’m finding it increasingly interesting how people define success. I’ve just seen a post on LinkedIn talking about an event for IWD where ‘successful’ business people will give a talk – I guess on how they achieved their ‘success’. At what point do you become successful? Is it when you have a certain job title? A big house? A fancy car? A sizeable bank balance? What are we all racing and consuming for?

For me I define my success by looking at my boys, are they happy? Are they thriving? Have I completely engaged with them? I look at my job – does it make me happy? Does it fit with my values? Is my heart content? I look at my marriage. Are we happy? Are we communicating well? Are we on the same path. I look at my connections with friends and family. Are they real? Are we getting below the surface? Am I helping them as much as they help me? If these are all aligned I can feel truly happy. And for me happiness is success.

I’m frustrated by the competition of success. Where how busy you are becomes a determining factor of how important you are. This surely is not what we’re living for. Well I’m certainly not. Life is a gift, one I became much more aware of when I lost my father last autumn. And it saddens me to see that on a whole our society values money, busy, consumption and titles more than kindness, generosity and honesty.

One of the main reasons I started Happy Communications was to give me the opportunity to work within my values. Honest. Frank. Happy. It’s genuine. It’s not about money or titles. There will be no jargon or waffle. It’s also not about working all hours and missing my family. You won’t see me in a fancy car anytime soon! I want to work alongside clients who fit my values also. I will give my all to them. I will promise to share their passion for their work. I promise to have real honest conversations. I promise to give 100%.

I urge you all to slow down. Take a look at what is truly important to you in life. Think about your values and how you can change your world to align it with your values. Then you’ll find meaningful success, rather than an empty, competitive, stressful, collection of busy.

I leave you with a wonderful story – The Mexican Fisherman:

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.  Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna.  The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos.  I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part.  When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire.  Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”