As the Founder of SMC, I consider SMC to be strategy and execution firm. At the spry age of 48, I recently had my hip replaced. Having spent quite a few afternoons to myself in recovery mode, I started working on personal goals.
As any good strategist would, I started from scratch with the basic question, “what does success look like for my personal life?” In other words, “what makes a great life?”
This one question started me down the proverbial rabbit hole. Fun! I would like to think here at SMC we have a strong culture and look for a certain balance in our lives. We also believe that we are all students and we are all teachers. This sounds great, but it only has value if we follow through with it; if we put it into practice every day. With the idea of being a teacher in mind, here are few of my recent observations on what makes a truly successful life beyond success in business.
I believe there are 4 pillars needed to create a fulfilling and great life. Where you are in life’s journey may impact how far you have progressed towards constructing each one of these four rock solid pillars. No matter where you are, having an idea of where you are going and what “great” looks like is critical to getting where you want to be. If you are younger or in transition, you may be in discovery and construction mode of your pillars. If you are old and crotchety like me, you have a decent idea of what you want and it is a matter of refinement.
To have success, you have to have balance. However, what this balance looks like is unique to you and is up to you to cultivate it. I believe the 4 pillars to be:
Our basic human survival needs to originate with our physical and mental health. I truly believe you have to take care of yourself before you can be there to help others.
A Secure Relationship:
This can take many different forms and is rarely the same for any two people. The idea of a soul-mate comes to mind. This person needs to be a great complement to you, your goals, the life you want to live and the way you want to live it.
This doesn’t mean the traditional idea of “rich.” Survival is no longer an issue in this country and we need to embrace this. Financial security can mean embracing the life you have and living within your means. Staying within your means and focusing on what you have, not what you don’t. This will allow you to be in charge of your life and not have your “stuff” be in charge of you.
Passion for What You “Do”:
Using intention to find that spark that makes you want to get up in the morning and greet the day. Invest the time to find work you are not just good at but that you enjoy. What you enjoy—you—not everyone else. What is it that you love? If you know this and act on it, you win.
Combine all 4 of these and I believe it will be almost impossible to not find personal happiness and fulfillment. This doesn’t mean that once you find these, you are done. Likely not at all.
However, if you are just starting off on this journey, it will help to have an idea of where you are going. If you are well established on this path, you will likely often review and revise, but you will have an idea of what success looks like. In the end there are no defined answers, typically just more questions. But, isn’t that why it is called the struggle of the journey?
In the end we only have this one shot at life. I encourage everyone to invest a little time and look at what “success” looks like for you. Build a plan of how to get there and then…dive in and don’t let go. Be extraordinary.
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