Tag Archives: happiness

Redefining Success


I am currently in a space of transition where I am really getting to look at what success means to me. I have been on similar ground before when leaving a well-defined position or a place where I have a clear identity.

I experienced this identity exploration when I left my corporate career and was finding my way to what was next, and again when I was no longer spiritual leader of a community, although in the latter case I stepped into a position of even greater spiritual leadership, so the feeling of loss of identity wasn’t as pronounced.

This time around is different. Having left a position of significant visibility nearly two years ago to create a completely new entity, as I experience the challenges to my identity I am being called to look deeper, to not attach so much of my identity to my position or station in life.

I am especially called deep into this journey of re-identification when I hit seeming roadblocks, whereby the possibility of not even succeeding at all, let alone finding a new identity, presents itself. I find that this idea of not succeeding at all rocks me at my core. And that is an indicator of an opportunity to let go, to surrender the attachment to outcomes, and specifically to outcomes that give me a desired identity.

The way I am redefining success is still a work in progress, but essentially it is identifying with who I am at my core, my divine essence, and the extent to which I allow that to shine forth, regardless of outcome.

It doesn’t mean I am not putting forth effort in the direction of my intentions. It means I am putting my energies into what serves in the highest way. Oddly enough, this focus breeds its own kind of success and prosperity. Yet, it is an act of surrender, thus my ego doesn’t get to claim victory, but my soul gets to rejoice.

One of my favorite spiritual writers, Joel Goldsmith said, “All of the good necessary to our welfare will be supplied to us in greater abundance than we can accept when we give up the effort and desire to get, achieve, or accomplish, and come more into the consciousness of desiring only to fulfill our destiny on earth.”

In our western world, if not beyond, it seems that the masculine in particular is socialized to identify greatly with success, achievement, and station in life. Our success or lack of success can become more than just an event; it can become the defining criteria of our sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

When I left my corporate career over 20 years ago, I let go of much of my prior definition of success, which was connected to climbing the ladder within that context and all of the external trimmings that go with it. Surprisingly, in this latest transition I am still finding some remnants of that paradigm in me. At times my sense of self-worth has been impacted by the fact that my new ventures are not yet shining successes.

Then I am reminded of my truer, more authentic intentions. I am reminded that I have no desire to identify my self-worth or lovability with my achievements or any other external conditions. I remember that my life is amazing in so many ways and I move into gratitude for what is. I reclaim perspective on the changing nature of all things in the world, and remember that if I base my happiness, self-worth, or lovability on any current state of my affairs, then I set myself up to be on a bit of a roller coaster of feeling good about myself one moment, and not so good the next moment.

The truth is we are perfect, whole, and complete, now, yesterday, and always. The opportunity is to enjoy and love it all, and to give thanks for it all. Yes, it really is about the journey after all!

Enjoy the journey.

Going Directly to Happy


Most of us have at some point come to realize that happiness is found within. Living our lives as if that were true can be a whole different story. We receive so many external messages extolling the virtues of all kinds of things outside ourselves as the source (and necessity) of our happiness. Moreover, we have internalized so many messages that link external factors to our happiness.

In addition to all the various advertisements and social pressures to have the right relationship, drive the perfect car, smell just right with deodorants, perfumes and the like, and work in an acceptable career, at an acceptable pace of upward mobility, we now also have our social media profiles to maintain. Of course, we are at choice with all of these and this is where we get to check in with ourselves to see where we are placing our attention and energies.

On a trip to Ghana, West Africa 15 years ago, one of the most common observations of my fellow travelers was how the local members of our host community seemed so much happier than us even though they had so much less materially than we did.

It begs the question: why not just go straight for happiness? Since happiness is found within and that’s ultimately what we all want, why not bypass all the external things we desire, and sometimes crave, and just go straight for happiness?

I have a banner on my wall at home that contains the following quote from the Chinese philosopher, Confucius: Life is simple. We make it complex. Interestingly, Confucius was writing around 500 BC.

Looking at life simply, we could choose to be happy and then just enjoy whatever good comes to us, as well as what we call challenges. I remember one particularly difficult year in college. This particular day it was my birthday. Despite the whirlwind of activity around me, I decided that because it was my birthday I was going to have a great day no matter what happened. And I did! While I have continued to learn this lesson of choosing happiness over and over again since then, it is a reminder that happiness truly is found within and is a choice.

No matter how much we achieve or acquire in the world, it is still up to us to decide when it’s enough. Usually, if we are externally focused, it is never enough. The happiness is only momentary, until we think of the next thing we need to make us happy.

When our focus is internal, and we recognize happiness as a choice, and one that is really about how we look at our life, then we can be happy in almost any situation. We can be happy with a lot of money or a little money, being in a relationship or single, and with a luxury car or a bicycle.

The invitation this day is to go straight for happiness. Perhaps for one day to start, decide to be happy no matter what happens.

Enjoy the journey.