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Feeling Successful Leadership Journey

AUDIO: Is Feeling Successful the Same as Being Successful?

by Greg Yates | Breakthrough Leadership

I’ve been asking myself one of these ‘chicken or egg’ type questions about success for years now. Maybe it seems obvious, but that hasn’t been my experience.

We could talk for hours about this deep topic, but let me just ask you this question:

Is FEELING successful the same as BEING successful?

It’s remarkable how powerful emotions can be. Unpredictable. Circumstantial. Manipulated. And yet, our lives are filled with the “episodes” of feelings that define us from the inside out.

Success Without Feeling Successful

A good friend of mine fell victim to such powerful feelings of despair he couldn’t leave the house. He was paralyzed in such an endless loop of stress that he couldn’t brace himself up any longer. Nobody could understand it. He was successful by societal standards. His family loved him. He was welcomed by friends in every arena of life. Still, he didn’t feel successful. He felt trapped.

Haven’t you felt moments in time when it seemed success was real based on a circumstance?

You looked at your 401k and felt the wealth effect building. You felt successful. You bought a new car or home and the feelings associated with it gave you such an emotional lift it seemed euphoric… for a while.

Were your feelings about true success or about circumstance? Is there a difference?

Everyone should have the right to grasp the feeling of success, shouldn’t they? We should be able to know it when it happens, right? We’ve all known people who were successful but didn’t see it. Then, others whose lives were falling apart. They felt successful because they’d defined their success in a way that blocked out everything else.

So, is feeling successful the same as being successful? I say yes… and no.

Defining Your Success

Can you experience success before you reach the pinnacle of it? Do you feel like you’re on vacation before your plane lands at its destination?

Everyone can feel successful for the right reasons. But, you have to know what those reasons are.

#1. Have you defined what success looks like?

  • Knowing what success looks like and feels like penetrates the illusions of false success. Having the “feeling” of success can be circumstantial. Incremental steps toward your clearly defined success is measurable.

#2. Have you identified the feelings associated with your success?

  • Simply feeling a short term “high” doesn’t mandate success. Identifying the emotions you anticipate in the process to your destination prevents you from misidentifying the truth.
  • Sometimes the steps to success are difficult. Anticipating those emotions can bring an amazing sense of progress, even when they’re tough.
  • I’ve found the need a few times to take off some extra pounds. If I fail to identify the “feelings” that lead to my success, it’s almost impossible to be successful. Feelings associated with success aren’t always euphoric. But, they are still feelings aligned accurately with success.

#3. Have you given yourself permission to celebrate the process, not just the destination? 

  • When do I become successful? After I’ve logged the entire trip or when I take off? Your feelings of success are often powerful leading indicators to your destination of defined success.

Feelings of success can’t be independent from a strategically defined pathway to success. When you arrive, you’ll learn that the greatest joy of success isn’t just the destination. It’s the journey.

Feelings only lead to Success when they’re intentionally linked to Breakthrough.

Add your comments to the conversation: How have you been feeling about your success lately? Have you given yourself permission to be proud of what you have already done, not just where you are headed? Post your reply below.

About Greg

Greg Yates has been a Chicago area businessman for over 30 years. He’s the author of the book, "Broken - How Being Broken Unlocked The Greatest Success of My Life". He has simultaneously owned 14 different businesses in a variety of industries; including real estate, manufacturing, payroll, and technology. Greg has also been an investor and a board member. He attended Olivet Nazarene University. He has a passion for flying. He’s had a pilot’s license for over 30 years and owned a variety of airplanes. Greg and his wife Vicki have been married over 37 years. They have a son, a daughter and seven grandchildren.

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