Success comes in all shapes and sizes and is personal to each of us. I want to help you create your success, your way.
Have you thought about success?
What does it mean to you?
Some of the women I work with are incredible and successful women, yet sometimes when I start working with them on a 1:1 basis, they don’t always feel successful. They say that other people label them as successful, but it’s not necessarily a word they would use to describe themselves.
So, have you thought about what success would look like and feel like for you?
I hear the word failing or failure a lot with women in my coaching, in my programmes and in my DM’s.
“I want to feel successful”
“I don’t feel like I can celebrate my wins, as I don’t want to come across as arrogant”
It’s more than just changing the narrative, it starts with a core-led approach. Who are we at our core? How do we think about ourselves? How do we feel about ourselves? How do we talk about ourselves? Then using that to change the narrative.
I’ve been there. There’s no way I would have spoken to anybody else in the way that I was speaking about myself at times. That critical inner voice. If I had spoken to anybody else in the way that I used to criticise myself, I would have been called a bully.
When I have the first couple of sessions with my clients; that’s what I hear a lot of. We put ourselves down, we beat ourselves up, we belittle ourselves, we can be patronising, we can be our own bullies.
So when I ask; what does success look like for you? A lot of us don’t really know the answer. It could be something we have never thought about or considered before. And for many of us, particularly me in the beginning, I was chasing somebody else's version of success when I got to the point of both of my burnouts.
On paper, I had it all. If there’s a checklist of success, I probably ticked every box. But I was conditioned to believe success only looked a certain way. A 6-figure salary, the big house, all-inclusive holidays, sports car, nice family car, job title, status, designer clothes, bags and bling, personal trainers, spa days. That was me back then and on paper you would have thought wow! She’s rocking it.
But I didn’t feel successful, I thought that I’ll only be successful when I get the next promotion. I won’t be successful until we’ve renovated the house. I won't be successful until I’ve bought another designer handbag. It was like a combination of success and happiness. I'll also be happy once I have all these things.
It was like happiness and success had been tied up and knotted together. You can’t be happy unless you’re successful and you can’t be successful unless you are happy.
On paper I had everything I needed and wanted. But I couldn’t feel happiness until I had achieved everything I wanted to achieve and then everything would fall into place.
I remember about a year before my first burnout in 2013, I was going to a round table lunch and meeting at Westminster, at The Houses of Parliament. I was on the tube and I noticed so many of the women there were laughing and they looked so light, happy and free. Then there was me and I thought, I just want to be happy. Something caused me to tally up what I was worth that day. I had on the fancy jewellery, suit, handbag and shoes and it was about £10,000 worth of STUFF. But I was thinking, all this stuff is what I’ve been told success looks like and I’m meant to feel successful and happy right? But I didn’t.
When I came out of my burnout, I started to realise I had come so far away from who I was at the core and I questioned why I was in the career I was in, why I was with this company….
Everything was taking me back to my core and I realised if I was aligned to my core I would see myself as successful. I had achieved a lot. I had written books, I was the UK’s youngest HR Director, I had managed big teams, I was 30 and on a 6-figure salary and managing millions pound budgets, I had 2 happy healthy amazing sons, yet I hadn’t felt successful. It was getting back to who I was at the core that allowed me to realise that success wasn’t stuff for me, it was a feeling. So it was then that I defined what success looked like and felt like for ME.
Let’s be honest, money is an important part of life and I’m not gonna lie and say that it wasn’t and isn’t a driver for me. I’ve had feast and famine moments in my life, we all need money to live and live comfortably, so I’m not going to say money doesn’t factor in there somewhere. Maybe it doesn’t for you, but for me, money makes it easier to live, to give back and it’s still a success factor for me. But success for me was no longer about the role, the status, how busy I’d been or how stressed I was.
18 months into my business I met a business coach and I was in the process of writing a book about stress. We were talking about my book and I remember her saying to me “your business can’t be that successful if you’ve got time to write a book”. Wow!
I thought, you're a female business coach and you’re thinking that I can’t be running a successful business, if I’m not overworking myself. WOW!
Balance is a huge part of success for me now.
Do I have the time and energy to spend with my family and loved ones?
Sometimes it can also be:
How am I doing with my goals?
How many women am I working with and supporting?
How many people are booked for my events?
These can all be measures of success, but my main feeling of success is around my energy levels.
One of the questions I ask sometimes in my morning journaling is; if money was no object, what would I be doing this week?
Sometimes the question can be;
If money was no object what’s the work I’d be doing?
If money was no object who are the clients I’d be working with?
If money was no object I’d be feeling…
This morning’s answer from my journaling and meditation session was; I would be doing more recording. More videos, more podcasts and more writing. These things light me up. These are the 3 things that make me calm and fill me with energy and joy.
Do I get money from them- NO not really, not that much.
These questions can be a really good indicator of what lights you up, what gives you energy, what inspires you.
You might find your definition of success in that answer.
If the money and status feels like success for YOU- Go for it! But for those that don’t care so much about those things, then you need to find out what it means for you. For some it’s stability, security, calmness, health, more time with family, more time with friends and for some it’s designer clothes and sports cars and buying your dream house.
Focus on success as more of a feeling rather than a thing, because if that thing was to be taken away, does that mean you will no longer be successful?
Mine is a feeling of balance.
Here’s the questions I want you to ask yourself and sit with:
How can you create your success, your way?
What does success feel like for you?
In 2013 Kelly had a successful leadership career, yet she was burned out, exhausted, and missing out on life with family.
Determined to enjoy the success that she had earned, she's learned to create a life of balance and boundaries that is also highly successful. Today at kellyswingler.com, Kelly helps women leaders all over the world to prevent and recover from burnout without giving up their career or jeopardising their wellbeing.