Let’s talk success and joy.
Notice first how it felt to have both of those words placed so near to each other in discussion.
Did it stir confusion for you to consider both of these experiences together? Did you comfortably consider that they belonged together – that they were mutually inclusive?
Notice which you most wanted me to continue to talk about. Notice which you felt disinterested in, as if already achieved or perhaps too elusive for you to indulge in.
Take a moment – contemplate ‘success’ as it has occurred or exists or has been achieved in your life. Contemplate the presence of joy – ‘deep joy’ in your life.
So this is the thing about success and joy. Ideally one should bring the other…right?
They have potential to occur together, and yet often in the pursuit of one we find ourselves feeling the absence and lacking of the other.
We strive for success through all of its constructs as we are taught to understand it, by the world that raises our awareness.
Success through position, status, education, career, or recognition from others. Throughout this striving we become tired and narrowed in the roles that we adopt to give definition to ourselves.
If we are ever given enough space either mentally and physically to contemplate, we can find ourselves so immersed in these success-defining roles that we no longer even remember who we were before we were our roles.
So joy diminishes – or at least deep joy – because while we’ve been relentlessly locked in pursuit of success through only the reflections of our roles, we experience only some form of joy expressing at its most surface level.
Yet we keep running the same treadmill in the pursuit and the generation of that success, and that surface depth joy.
Rarely are our assumptions about the sustenance of success based upon carefully contemplated conclusions about what we value in ourselves, our lives, in others.
Rather, it is the values of others and of our parent-world that construct our views, and so the presence of deep joy becomes a unreachable reality.
We believe joy is present while we are succeeding, and yet generated from our roles rather than our values, it in fact is a single drop when we thirst a full cup full.
I can remember times in my life that were what I would call transitions. Some of them tumultuous transitions, some of them very deep transitions, some so deep they seem to be the ‘dark night of the soul’ that is often noted through literature of history.
Through ever transition period the theme remained the same – the recognition that what I was striving to define myself by as ‘successful’ was a contradiction to what I needed to define myself as ‘joyful’. This terrifying realisation is easier to turn away from than to turn toward.
So the treadmill becomes preferred for its familiarity, and yet only fleetingly satisfying.
Rarely do the structures or pace of our world allow sufficient reflective space to truly dissect our meaning of success or deep joy. Rarely does time allow us to reconcile the two to exist within the same space bringing richness to our individual existence.
Often, only through deliberately sought out processes such as therapy, coaching, mentoring, or supervision are we awarded the opportunity to take this reflective space. Often it is these processes that inspire and guide us to transform our values based reflections into a life that we mindfully choose.
The life in which success and deep joy coexist for us. Our life as a series of chosen rich experiences that are worth getting up for every day.
The take home message about success and deep joy?
Seek courageous sources of inspiration that will challenge you to purposefully transform.