This morning, I review my life's purpose and mission statement, as I do first thing most mornings, and I ask myself: have I grown enough as a human being?
Reviewing and refining my mission statement, goals, dreams and a gratitude list on a daily basis has been one of the most powerful exercises to manifest and stay focused, especially in a time when my attention is demanded in so many different places. Many people like to create vision boards, but for me, this is a better option because there is real power in writing it down and refining.
But on this morning, I question what success looks like outside the context of career, business and finance. What about being successful as a whole human being? What does success look like as a mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter, aunt, friend, partner, community member and so forth?
Success is something a lot of people want, if the plethora of "how-to" material available in the marketplace is any indication. I have interviewed hundreds of (mostly) women about their journeys to success. As we know, success is relative. For me, it means following my heart. I have come to the conclusion, though, that success is an over-used word and like so many over-used words (think inspire and hero) in our vocabulary, it is losing its power. Perhaps what we need is to invent new language that expresses different meanings of success.
With 2016 fast-approaching, and as I soon enter a new chapter of my life, I have decided that instead of focusing on success, my aim is "growth" -- that is, to grow more as a whole human being. With that in mind, I have identified the four corners of growth that are necessary for self-actualization:
"Gratitude is the heart's memory." ~ French proverb
1. Gratitude: Be thankful every day for what you have and for what you don't have, and be balanced in the perception that everything that happens to you in life serves a bigger purpose. When you are experiencing a negative emotion or situation, find out how it helps you get where you want to go - and be grateful for it. The key is to be balanced and gratitude helps us do that.
"If you want to be loved, be loveable." ~ Ovid
2. Love: Your heart knows its truth. Listen to its whispers. When you come from the place of your heart, you experience joy. When you make decisions based on love for yourself, in your highest values, you are being true to yourself. You will become more compassionate toward others and have more love for yourself. We are all worthy of love.
"Keep your face always toward the sunshine -- and shadows will fall behind you."
~ Walt Whitman
3. Inspiration: Inspiration is the fuel that ignites our dreams and keeps the energy revving so we are able to manifest. When the mind is inspired, we can turn distraction to laser-like focus. Spend time learning and developing your mind. Ignorance is not bliss; it is detrimental to evolution.
"All noble enthusiasms pass through a feverish stage, and grow wiser and more serene." ~ William Ellery Channing
4. Enthusiasm: Unless we are enthused and our bodies are energized, we will not have the energy long-term to make anything happen. Vitality is key. When we are in a state of good health and vitality, we can put enthusiasm to work. Do whatever it takes to become enthusiastic about the work ahead of you to make your dreams come true, or they will not happen.
What are your areas of growth? I would love to hear from you.
Shannon Skinner is a television and radio show host, inspirational speaker and author of "The Whispering Heart: Your Inner Guide to Creativity." To learn about her keynotes, visit www.ShannonSkinner.com.