You begin with youthful ambitions and a vision about the difference you want to make. I traded on my potential while I gathered experience, sometimes flying on empty.

My determination kept me fully attuned to those miraculous chance meetings that happen right on cue, and opportunities at my door just when another challenge was required. I gained traction with some early achievements — and that’s how it works for many ambitious, driven women through their 20s.

THEN imperceptibly, I started moving the goal posts further forward to keep me on my toes, creative, stimulated, developing, determined to make an impact. Life got richer in experiences, relationships changed or deepened, timing awareness crept in about children, new friendships sparked from work connections.

GREAT! Success is on the Horizon …

Success is on the horizon

Credit: unsplash by Marc-Olivier Jodoin

BUT, also imperceptibly, you might find, like me, that you never quite match up to your vision because it’s always “up ahead.” There’s nothing wrong with that in principle, but in practice it could be undermining instead of supporting you, because two things keep NOT happening:

You never quite match up to your vision because it’s always ‘up ahead’.

Credit: unsplash by Richard Jaimes

  1. You rarely, if ever, stop and acknowledge how far you’ve come, how you’ve developed, and how all that can play into your vision.
  2. You never quite replenish your energy levels, thinking “I can get away with it because I’m still young and strong.”

In fact, you start looking at things from the other end of the telescope, and begin to notice an underlying sense of … hmmm, what is it? Uncertainty? Unease?

  • Your response is to push on, and you start getting annoyed when the rest of your life doesn’t keep up with you.
  • You start noticing you have better strategies and solutions than the people you report to, and that’s a block you weren’t expecting.

IF the growing dissatisfaction and irritation don’t impact your outlook and self-confidence, they will certainly be impacting your relationships and quality of life.

And IF “Push On” keeps winning over “Time Out,” then it all gets harder and burnout becomes a real possibility.

There is no ONE answer. However, I have found my clients do astonishingly well when they give themselves permission to PAUSE and look at how they define “achieving success” through four issues:

1. Never acknowledging how far you’ve come, how you’ve developed, and how all that could play into your vision.

You wouldn’t dream of NOT researching, evaluating and consolidating your understanding about a work project, and using that knowledge as a springboard for achieving the project/company/client vision, would you? YOU deserve the same attention and not replace — to nurture and evolve your vision every step of the way.

2. Getting away with never quite replenishing your energy levels.

How smart is that, really? Always saying, “I just have to do xxx first.” It’s not about feeling guilty towards others, it’s a decision to PUT YOUR NEEDS FIRST. And crucially, understanding that when you do this consistently, you’ll excel and make a greater contribution in a sustained way.

3. Pushing on as the default mode when the rest of your life doesn’t keep up with you.

Superwoman runs on testosterone — women have about 16 percent of that of men. When it runs out, we switch to adrenaline, the stress hormone, which is a super fast way to deplete your energy for minimum gain. Superwoman has three sidekicks: victim, martyr and bitch. Do you recognize them in your behaviors at work or home? Start tracking what triggers each one in your day to day, and consider alternatives.

4. Outgrowing your apparent seniors.

Now you’ve reflected on just how far you’ve come, on your competencies, talents and achievements, on impacting the business and people you serve. Now you’re regularly replenishing your energy in multiple ways. And now you’re retiring Superwoman and starting to draw on alternative energies like the One of many™ distinction PowerTypes™ such as Queen (boundaries, vision), Sorceress (intuition, “luck”), Warrior (the sustainable alternative to Superwoman), and others …

… You’re READY to think creatively, compassionately and ambitiously about working with or around the people you’ve outgrown, as you go from strength to strength.

So, how will you know for sure when you achieve success? Perhaps by making a choice to live your success now, every day.

Make a choice to live your success now, every day.

Credit: unsplash by David Vierkötter

If the content of this article resonates, and you would like to explore how to shift your mindset to empower your progress, message me on LinkedIn or email me at nancy@nancycogswell.com.