We all have different wants and needs for our lives and businesses and what we class as success varies from person to person.
Success may look like keeping up appearances online and becoming a “social influencer” with thousands of followers on social media. It may look like a diary chock-a-block with clients. It may look like hitting your sales targets and being a six-figure business. Or it may mean being interviewed on TV or for a well known magazine. These are all fabulous achievements.
But we don’t all desire the same things.
Success is an inside job
On my Instagram feed I noticed another post with “Here are my top ten secrets for success” and decided to scroll on. Sometimes I am curious about others ideas of success. But these days not so much because I have learnt to figure out my own.
As when you pay more attention to others definition of success and ignore the whispers of your own inner guidance it’s likely you’ll end up with a petite business that looks great from the outside looking in.
But it doesn’t feel so good to you.
You don’t feel successful so you keep moving the goal posts. Striving for more. Searching for fulfillment in the wrong places. And wondering why others appear to be successful and you’re not?
I met with a business woman who had been running her bridal dress shop for twenty years. With her vast experience her petite business was a thriving success. Sales had grown and increased year on year and thanks to word of mouth referrals and her diligent care and attention new custom came in easily.
From the outside looking in everything looked rosy. With plenty of cash rolling in and bride after bride coming through the door this was an established solid business. You could say a total success.
And yet on the inside she was unhappy and unfulfilled. Out of sorts and no longer in alignment with her true calling.
The level of success she had achieved was something others could only dream about. But it was no longer enough to sustain her. She’d fallen out of love with her petite business. Everything had become easy, comfortable and predictable and she longed for change.
This is the perfect time for a transformation.
What lies beneath?
We’d been talking for a while and during our conversation I gently started to dig deeper and asked if there was anything else she wanted to do with her life and work? What did she feel strongly about? Was there anything that kept coming back to her?
She paused for a moment before speaking and then lent in close and whispered
“Well, what I’d really love to do is become a specialist supplier of boudoir lingerie.
But what would people think of me? I know my family would be embarrassed. I am proud of my reputation so what if people don’t like me doing this?
What if this is not as successful as my bridal business? I know I’ll feel a failure and I don’t think I can take the risk and start all over again or replicate the level of success I’ve had.”
She’d already talked herself out of it and decided it was a non-starter. But the idea wouldn’t go away.
I could immediately see that this made perfect sense for her to become a specialist in boudoir lingerie especially when she explained more about why she felt compelled to do so.
Eventually she stopped whispering and began to reel off how passionate she felt about empowering women to feel beautiful in their own skin. Fed up of seeing her clients coming in and feeling bad about themselves she wanted to help change their perception and encourage more self acceptance.
As it didn’t seem to matter how beautiful they were to others, when they did not believe they were enough. Standing in front of the mirror in a beautiful gown they wouldn’t focus on how amazing they looked or see their inner beauty. All they honed in on were their perceived imperfections reflecting back at them.
She was so fired up and said
"I want this to change and know I can help them feel amazing in their own skin and look their best every day, not just on their wedding day. This is what I really want to do. But how?"
And there it was.
We discovered something very special.
Her big why.
Immediately I could see the magic of what she’d just said aloud. Her entire being sparkled and lit up with enthusiasm right in front of my eyes.
Here is a woman with a mission.
Her mission isn't about the dresses or the underwear. It is about how women feel about themselves. This is her soul-led calling.
The obstacles preventing her from taking action and transforming were believing she had to specialise in one business, when she could blend the two. And owning her big why. When she believed in the power of her work, she would no longer give a stuff or place any importance on what people around her may think. She had a job to do.
It was so obvious to me that there was a huge opportunity waiting for her. Nothing too drastic. All she needed to do to move forwards was to become a specialist in bridal gowns AND boudoir lingerie. Not one or the other. For now blend the two. And if she wanted to let go of the bridal business later she could.
By listening to and acting on what was in her heart and soul, she could be the change that so many women need. Couldn’t she?
Turning the can'ts into can's
All she needed to do was ease in gently, test the market and see what interest there was. Tentatively own her why. Take it slowly and gain more confidence.
And it seemed by listening to herself it wasn't long before the transformation was able to gain momentum for her, the petite business and her clients.
Her definition of success is measured by seeing her brides dressed in all their glory. Empowering them to look and feel fabulous means her soul led work is more fulfilling and satisfying. And continued to grow, bloom and transform with another new addition, boudoir photography.
Her reputation survived and her clients felt amazing in their bridal dress AND boudoir undies.
And along with their photo images they have a daily reminder, just in case they ever forget that they are more than enough and beautiful inside and out.
I’d call this a success all round, wouldn’t you?
So before you begin scrambling up someone else’s ladder of success, do make sure it feels in alignment with you and is going to take you precisely to where you want to go.