What is “Success”?
We often hear people say “I want to be successful.” And I’m sure you might have said this to yourself too. When you hear the word “success”, what does it mean to you? To some, being successful means having a lot of wealth. To others, it may be overcoming a fear. And still, to others, it simply means having good health and happiness in life. Success is something that you have to define for yourself and no one can do it for you. And the meaning of “success” will keep changing in our lives.
When we were still a student, success simply meant scoring good grades in our exams. But that changes as we become an adult and start working. Success could mean having a good job, earning a good salary and making an impact in the society. And as we get into our golden ages, success could simply mean having good health and being truly happy.
No matter where we’re at in our lives, the one thing that everyone’s definition of “success” has in common is achieving some sort of goal or a purpose. Hence, no matter how you define success for yourself, the principles of how to be successful in life remain the same. So in this video, I’ll be sharing with you the 7 Ways to Build a Mindset for Success and Happiness
1. Find Your Ikigai
When I was in my early 20s, I came across a book called “Ikigai” and it has honestly changed the way I lived my life. Some of you might have heard of this concept, for some it might be new to you. Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means your ‘reason for being’. ‘Iki' in Japanese means ‘life’ and ‘gai’ describes value or worth.
Your ikigai is what gives your life worth, meaning and purpose. It is what brings you joy and inspires you to get out of bed every day. So how do you find your Ikigai? Ask yourself these 4 questions:
- What do you love?
- What are you good at?
- What does the world need?
- What can you get paid for?
The centre point in the diagram where all four circles overlap is your Ikigai. It is the point where a number of aspects come together - what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs and what you can be paid for. So why is living your Ikigai important in being successful? Instead of working in a job you hate just for the sake of paying your bills, or on the flip side, blindly following your passion, but you’re unable to sustain your life, discovering your Ikigai brings balance to your life. It is where your passion, mission, craft and calling intersect.
As a result, your Ikigai will give you a reason to get up every morning. It gives meaning to your life. You’ll love what you do, you’ll contribute more to your job and those around you, you’ll be inspired to keep going, and as a result, you’ll succeed it whatever goals you’ve set for yourself. For me, my Ikigai is doing this - sharing my love, knowledge and experience in health and fitness, and helping people to be a better version of themselves.
2) Silence Your Inner Critic
The main culprit that keeps you from stepping out of your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is your own inner critic. The moment you try to do something bold or interesting with your life, it slaps you down with voices that says “I’m not good enough!” “I’m gonna embarrass myself.” “I’ve failed so many times.
The inner conversations you have with yourself can be either a powerful stepping stone or a major obstacle to reaching your goals. Your thoughts greatly influence how you feel and behave, hence negative self-talk can become downright self-destructive. Telling yourself that you’ll never be successful or that you aren’t as good as other people, will reduce your feelings of self-worth and stop you from taking actions. Our negative thoughts are often exaggerated, biased and untrue.
So how do we change that? Firstly, start to be more aware of the conversations you have with yourself - what are you telling yourself? How does it make you feel? Is it helping you towards your goals? Once you can objectively view your thoughts, then you will be able to change the conversation you’re having with yourself.
Whenever I’m feeling anxious or when I start to self-doubt, I will always talk to myself “Joanna, you can do this.” “Joanna, you got this”. As crazy as it sounds, it has always helped me to take that leap of faith and work on becoming better. And of course, remember to celebrate your progress and small victories along the way, as you work towards your goal. Because that’s how you become successful.
3) Stop Planning & Start Doing
I’m sure you’ve heard this saying many times. “If you don’t have a plan, then you plan to fail”. Whilst this maybe true, it’s only a small part of the equation to success. I’m sure we all have friends who always have bigs plan to do this project, or to start a business or to try something different in their lives. However, few years down the road, they are still exactly where they were few years ago. It’s just a lot of of talk, without actions.
While having a clear plan is extremely important for success, most people tend to stop there. Even though you can have the best plan written down, you won’t know how it would turn out until you START DOING. And one of the most common reasons why people don’t take actions is because they are afraid of failing. So instead, they give themselves excuses to just keep planning, and to make it better until they are ready. But the truth is, you will never fully be ready.
The thing that often separates successful people from unsuccessful people is simply taking action. Those who achieve success may not be smarter than those who don’t, but they make a plan, have a timeline and stick to it. As soon as they feel motivation or a strong emotion toward something, they take immediate action. That doesn’t mean they will succeed. In fact, they might fail. But that’s how they learn, improve and get better until they succeed. Setbacks are necessary lessons and steps towards success. If you are just stuck in the “planning” phase, then you will never get closer to your goals. So stop planning and start doing!
4) Have a Growth Mindset
If you want to be successful in life, you must have a growth mindset and take on the role of being a life-long learner. The truth is, you won’t achieve success overnight. You have to take consistent action, test various ideas, fail, get back up, and slowly see your growth.
If you aren’t in a growth mindset, you probably have a fixed mindset, which stops you from achieving things in your life. A fixed mindset is when you believe your basic qualities, intelligence, talents and abilities are just fixed traits, that cannot be improved. “This is the way I am.” “I’m not taught to do this.” “Oh, I can’t do this”.
With a growth mindset, you believe that your talents and abilities can be developed over time through experience and mentorship, and so you’ll push yourself and “go for it". People with a growth mindset aren’t worried about how smart they are, or how they will look if they make a mistake. They will always challenge themselves and grow. Maintaining this growth mindset allows you to take every opportunity to be a better employee, student, spouse, parent etc. or whatever you set your mind to be. Remember, success never happens in one day, but if you continue to improve yourself every day, you will be successful.
5) Be Healthy in Your Mind & Body
When you look at success people, most of them are fit and healthy. Why is that so? Besides the known benefits of exercising which includes more energy, better mood and lower stress levels, having a regular fitness routine also teaches you discipline, focus, resilience, and to excel beyond the limitations you’ve set yourself. That's one of the best things about exercise: it puts your mind in contact with your body and makes them whole. Hence, working hard and working out go hand-in-hand.
So start prioritising your body and set a regular exercise routine. Give your body the attention it deserves, and believe me, you’ll see improvements in other areas of your life too.
6) Take a Break
You might start off loving your job, loving your role as a parent, and loving what you do. But if we just keep going and going without taking breaks, eventually we will get burned out. That’s when you’ll start to feel like you’ve lost the passion in what you used to love doing, or you’ve lost your purpose or meaning in life.
I’ve experienced this many times and questioned myself, why am I doing what I’m doing. Why do I not enjoy it as much as I used to? I’m in the health industry producing fitness content, but I don’t even have the time for myself to workout. I identify so strongly with my work that I lack balance between my work life and my personal life. I feel the need to push myself to work harder and eventually burned out.
These experiences has taught me that I needed to take necessary breaks if I want to continue to do what I do in the long term. If I can’t even help myself and be inspired, how can I reach out to others. I’ve learned that it’s ok to take a step back and slow down, it’s ok to say no at times, and it’s ok to not always be on top of everything. It’s almost 10 years since I starting sharing fitness content online, and I can say that I still love it and enjoy speaking to all of you. Success is also about being able to sustain what you do long term in a healthy manner, physically and mentally.
So if you are experiencing mental fatigue, take the time to rest and rejuvenate your mind. It will help you to be a better person and excel further in all areas of your life. Do one “slow activity” every day. For example, slow down your lunch and eat in peace, take a walk through a green area – no phone, or read a favourite book for 15 minutes every night. Make “slow living” a small part of your everyday.
7) Give Gratitude
And the final mindset for success is GRATITUDE. Gratitude is a choice, not a result. I’m sure you’ve heard this many times, “It’s so easy to be grateful when you've made it to the top. It is easy to be grateful when your career, mission, relationships and finances are all going exceptionally well.” Yes, that is true but contrary to popular belief it is also easy to be grateful during your struggles or when you are trying to improve and progress in all aspects of life. In fact, gratitude is the key factor in achieving ultimate success and happiness. When you feel happy, you feel optimistic and energised. This motivated energy leads to action. And action is the vital ingredient to goal success.
Studies have shown that people who wrote down what they were grateful for on a weekly basis were more cheerful and optimistic about the upcoming week than those who didn’t. One thing that I’ve been doing for the past decade is to keep a gratitude journal. It’s not about being grateful for the big things in life, but those small moments that we often overlook. By having a gratitude journal and writing it down on a daily or weekly basis, it reminds me of all the good things I have going in my life.
The more you can be appreciative for what you have, the more you will operate out of passion to expand vs. fear of not having enough. As a result, gratitude increases confidence and decreases insecurity. Gratitude makes you stay focused on your work and business goals and you are less likely to be distracted by worries. Gratitude makes you a more effective manager, business owner, parent or student. Everything goes better with gratitude.
Your success ultimately comes down to your actions, perceptions and attitudes. Having a goal is half the battle, you need to have a plan and take action. Set a goal, have a plan and take action! I hope that this will help you to start applying these 7 principles and achieve what you believe is the epitome of success.