A couple of months ago, I started living my own experiment. It is an experiment of thought and action – one that involves big questions – philosophical in nature and raw in reality. One of these questions challenges how we’re wired to think about success. For years, I listened to how other people defined success through monetary and prestige-based terms. Why wouldn't I? Its what we’re taught throughout our education, how we’re measured by the capitalist system, and how we’re influenced through mainstream pop culture. We all need money and I’m not arguing that fact. But this experiment is about creating a new view of success in deeper, more fulfilling terms. In my analysis, I’m weaving together threads of meaningful conversations with everyday people, historical research, non-fiction writing and philosophy.
This week I attended an event hosted by City Fit Girls, where a panel of three female entrepreneurs talked about establishing and growing their own businesses. After listening to their stories, I extracted a few attributes that might not be the first things you’d read in a “how to” book.
1. Be personal. A primary lesson I learned in big business: “don’t take it personal and don’t be personal.” The second part of that lesson: all decisions in business are made for money, first and people, second. But these women got personal first. They revealed their unique identities before money and turned themselves into brands with incredibly personal missions. And its working. So no matter what type of person you are, introvert, extrovert, interesting, boring, entrepreneurial or not – you’re still a human being with an individual personality. Share that with people, it won’t get you fired. If it does, they'll have done you a favor.
2. Learn something new. Because its not always about doing what you are good at. By expanding your mind, you might actually find something that makes you happier. Some argue that people who learn a little about a lot of things will be more fulfilled than those who climb one career ladder to become experts in their fields. Either way, getting out of your comfort zone will afford you new opportunities. And new opportunities, however large or small, eventually contribute to success.
3. Transparency. Is. So. Powerful. Another rarity in our expectation of success is a person who proactively bares their soul. This can be viewed as unprofessional, inappropriate and unnecessary. But when a person has a story so relatable, so inspiring – being PC doesn’t matter anymore. These women are proud to be honest with the world and you should be too.
These first three attributes are scratching the surface of my new success definition. Melissa, Yasmine and Archna have prioritized alternative approaches to success. Be sure to check them out on Twitter: Melissa Alam, Yasmine Mustafa, Archna Sahay
Stay tuned for more about finding and redefining The New Success.