Seller Handbook

Advice and inspiration for successfully running your Etsy shop

Seller Handbook

5 Ways to Define and Achieve Success on Your Terms

What does success mean to you? Map it out with these insights and a worksheet from this full-time artist and author of “Declaration of You.”

By Jessica Swift Jul 16, 2013
Photo by grass for giants

It’s easy to get caught up in what we think we should be doing in order to invite success into our lives. We read blogs, we subscribe to newsletters, we talk with family members and friends, we peruse Pinterest, we follow people on Facebook — there’s information and advice galore out there. We live in a remarkable time with remarkable tools for learning and for social interaction.

While there are obvious advantages to having access to so much information, it’s also a bit of a slippery slope. It’s easy to begin believing that other people outside of yourself have all the answers. If you just do what so-and-so-blogger says to do, then you’ll be successful. It’s easy to compare yourself to other people who create similar types of things and to wish you had their success. It’s easy to believe that everyone has it figured out except for you and that you’re doing it all wrong.

The thing is, so-and-so doesn’t know you. What worked for these folks might not necessarily work for you. They don’t know the details of your life, the things you like to do, what scares you, what your strengths are ... but you know who does? Yep, you!

I’m here to give you permission to take your power back and define success on your own terms. You know what you need to do, for you. No one could possibly know better than you. Take time to get quiet, listen, and then move deliberately forward — the answers will come. The more you work that inner voice muscle (we’ve all got one!), the easier it’ll be to live into your own version of success.

Here are five powerful ways to start tuning into your own inner voice and defining what success looks like, according to you:

1. Create [Your Name Here] Land

Close your eyes and dream up what your ideal life might look like. One where you feel the most like you, where you’re filled with joy, where you’re doing work that you love, where you’re surrounded by the type of people you resonate with. Don’t worry if it seems crazy or unattainable. Just sink into that feeling of a life you would love living, and let yourself marinate in it.

Here are some things to consider while you’re dreaming:

  • What do you see/hear/feel/smell/taste/etc.?
  • What’s the best part of your day?
  • What do you not have to worry about?
  • How do you feel? (Aim for three to five core feelings.)
  • Who is with you?

Using this worksheet, write down every keyword and experience that feels important from your dreaming time. Then, circle the ones that intuitively speak to you the most right now.

Think about:

  • What can you do to bring more of those feelings and experiences into your life right now?
  • How can you use these dream discoveries to craft your personal definition of what success is for you?

2. Unsubscribe From Every Blog and Newsletter That Make You Feel “Less Than,” Icky, or Overwhelmed.

If it makes you feel icky, it’s not for you — simple as that. Nothing that you’re taking in should make you feel bad about yourself. Unsubscribe! Even if you think you should read it because everyone else is, or because they’re an industry expert, or whatever — if it makes you feel icky or small, nix it. Then bask in the feeling of empowerment that follows!

3. Assess Your Current Beliefs About Success. Question Everything.

Take five minutes to quickly write down all your beliefs about success. Don’t think about it too much — just get your initial thought on the page as fast as you can. Look over the list. Really think about each belief you wrote down. Is it something you truly believe? Is it something you picked up from childhood? Are there beliefs that need updating? Cross out all the beliefs you disagree with.

Make a list of new beliefs about success. Take a new mental snapshot of what success looks like to you. If it’s helpful, start with this phrase: “I am willing to believe that success is...” Sometimes this phrase is helpful because it can give you some space to move into the belief and try it out. Read this phrase every day, to remind yourself of your new belief.

4. When I’m Successful, I’ll Feel...

Write down five important ways you want to feel as a successful person. Maybe you want to feel supported, creative, powerful, innovative, on the cutting edge, calm, joyful — there’s no right or wrong here. Only you can know how you ultimately want to feel in your life.

Next, for each feeling, think of five ways that you can start creating more of it in your life and your creative business right now. Consider what would change if you used those feelings as guideposts in your decision-making and strategizing. Doing more things that make you feel the way you want to feel will lead to more success.

drawn by lucy smith

5. Take Three Small Steps Toward Success Every Day

Adopt the idea of doing three things every day that lead in the direction of your definition of success. Small steps in a deliberate direction can add up quickly and lead to big success! This is also a way to keep from feeling overwhelmed with all the things that need to be done to move in the direction of your dreams — choosing three things to focus on each day is manageable and is something our brains can easily understand.

Write down your three steps each morning or at the end of each workday. And here’s the key: do your three steps every day, so you create momentum, and it becomes a habit. You’ll be on your way to achieving goals and living your successful life in no time.

Last but not least, remember that you are in command here. I invite you to step into your power, to decide what your version of success is, and then start living into it. You already have all the answers you need inside you. Get quiet, listen, and then move deliberately forward, and you’ll be moving toward the life of your dreams.

How do you define your success? Share your thoughts in comments.

Author

Jessica Swift from jessicagswift

Jessica Swift, a full-time artist, surface pattern designer, and author in Portland, Oregon, is on a quest to inspire everyone on the planet to pursue their wild and colorful dreams… and never give up. Her magically uplifting and colorful artwork is licensed for use on iPhone cases, fabric, stationery, and more, and her first book, The Declaration of You (co-written with creative career coach Michelle Ward), was published in June 2013. You can find Jessica on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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