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Four Ways We Are Re-defining Success in Midlife By Debra Betterly

When entering second adulthood, many women will begin a journey of re-defining personal and professional success for themselves. Success takes on a new meaning than it had in our 20’s and 30’s when it was most likely being defined more by others, the current culture, the past, hope or advertising. But the truth is; no matter what our age, only we can truly define success for ourselves. Our forming of new, revised, more authentic definitions of success are a reflection of our wiser, more experienced selves and sets us free to enjoy our life and work more completely because they no longer define us or box us in. Rather they release us from priorities that are no longer relevant or meaningful.

1. Society Can No Longer Dictate Our Self Worth:

Around the time we enter our 40’s, we have a deeper understanding, knowing and feeling of our innate self worth and that it is separate from the societal ideal of worth.

2. We Can Now Choose New Beliefs:

We begin the shift to having a healthier, more deserving sense of responsibility around success, money and happiness and, as a result, have an opportunity to begin a new cycle of attraction and abundance in our lives. What can trip us up, if we are not aware of it, is when our beliefs are in silent opposition to the new sense of value and worth we are feeling as we re-define success. Our beliefs are firmly held opinions we adopted from our past experiences and dictate how we assign meaning to our life and our expectations of how our life and/or work will be, either limiting or expanding our possibilities.

For example, one client I had held in her a belief that although she was excellent at what she did and could provide a great benefit to others, she would probably not make enough money in her business to sustain her. She had based this belief on a number of things, including: An unconscious belief that she could not possibly earn a lot of money doing what she loved to do-the two just weren’t synonymous in her mind; the belief that there had to be a sacrifice involved if a person wanted to earn a lot of money; and the belief she grew up with, that women in general don’t have what it takes to be financially successful.

My client was obviously limiting her possibilities because of her limiting beliefs and their obvious mismatch to her evolving definition of success!! She had to shift her beliefs if she was going to find the success she needed to continue doing what she wanted and loved to do!

3. We Are Ready to Boldly Re-define Success:

An exercise I use with clients to help them re-define their personal definition of success is to complete the sentence, “I know I am being successful by how……” And keep writing until they make sure that their new definition is phrased in such a way that they feel a tingle in their body, or the light bulb goes on or they feel really excited.

When my client did this exercise, her definition of success was “I know I am being successful by how easy it is to attract customers who can benefit from the unique gifts and talents I have to share, allowing me to earn all the money I need to more than sustain my business and live comfortably.” Her new definition became the frame work for the process of re-working her old beliefs and creating new beliefs that served her and supported her, thus creating new standards and goals that led her to a financially successful business that provided her with a new level of freedom and certainty vs. the angst and struggle she previously experienced.

4. We Have Raised Our Personal Standards:

We attract abundance when believe we are worthy regardless of our accumulations, images or accomplishments and we attract more abundance because we automatically raise the bar on our inner personal standards. As a result, we may have stopped accepting credit card debt, we might be requiring ourselves to work smarter, we may have started taking better care of ourselves because we love ourselves, not because we feel shamed by societal standards, we might be starting to stand up for ourselves more and we might be creating and following through on more effective goals.

Our feeling of personal success and value stops depending so much on the “doing”, such as earning a certain amount of money, having a certain amount of power, or acquiring enough praise and recognition, but will begin to have more to do with “being”. The quality of the person we want to be, the lives we touch and the relationships we share.

Which bring us to an interesting twist regarding success; If we believe we are always enough just as we are, or who we are choosing be, rather than what we are doing (accumulating money, things and accomplishments), then, ironically, we attract more of the outer abundance we also desire!

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