One of the most important aspects of success is knowing your own definition - your own benchmarks.
One aspect of success that gets more than its fair share of focus is money - or how much income you should aim for or should want to earn. I know I've struggled with judging my definitions of success, particularly my income, at various times (*cough* like just last week).
It is an act of personal revolution to listen for your truth regarding success, income, and abundance, given the high decibel conditioning that gets louder every day.
In today's blog, I want to share some real talk about success (in direct opposition to the typical narrative about income and earning) and what it means to experience more than enough on your terms.
Let's start here: money is essential.
And, I have heard things like this on too many occasions:
"A coach is not successful if they don't make 6-figures or more."
"If you aren't making 6-figures, you are playing small/have limiting beliefs/need a new business model."
Coming back to my work in the last year, I have felt the sting of shame when I've heard comments such as these or the marketing that pushes on these familiar narratives around money. I want to say that it hasn't made me spin out, but it has.
Time and again, when I come back to my center, I know what is at the heart of these kinds of statements.
These opinions are based on patriarchal ideals.
I mean that these statements assume - or insist - that the most critical measure of success is the money you earn. Like I said, money is essential, without a doubt. However, when I left corporate America, I had been chasing (and succeeding at getting) promotions and more income to the tune of making 6-figures in my late 20s. The personal cost of that income level was exhaustion, regret, and the emptiness of recognizing that the one thing I'd hung my hopes on (more money) did not offer me a sense of satisfaction, meaning, and enjoyment.
It isn't that I wouldn't pursue, or want, more income - I'm not someone who dislikes or mistrusts money. What I want you to take away is that what YOU prioritize as a measure of deep and true success is incredibly individual and contextual and can (and will) change over time.
My business has never in 13 years generated 6-figures, but my business, and my income, have met my measures of success based on the rest of my life. Having a 6 or 7 figure income has nothing to do with your work's success, effectiveness, or meaning, nor does money need to be the ultimate measure of your success unless you want it to be.
There is nothing wrong with either wanting and striving for a 6-figure business or not giving a shit about making that much money. The point is, you get to decide what success means to you.
Measures of success.
Listen, the money you earn is only one part of a flourishing business and life. What other aspects of success, meaning, and flourishing do you want your work to support?
I will share the measures of success that I have prioritized in my work as inspiration for you to create your measures.
Service and personal connection. I work with a small number of women at any one time - 8 to 10 maximum. My clients know they can reach me, that I am here, and they can count on me - they are held in the container of our relationship, whether in session or between. Limiting the number of clients I serve at any given time to a smaller number keeps me focused and engaged, and it also nourishes my next measure of success.
My works hours do not interfere with mothering or my marriage. I work part-time because my daughter and my marriage are my priorities right now. I recognize this isn't a choice available to everyone - but for our family, it was born of necessity, given my husband's military career, frequent moves, deployments, and living overseas. With too many clients or a full-time work schedule, I would lack the ease and flexibility to be present for my beloveds. I'm grateful my work has allowed me to prioritize my people.
Creating! I love to create courses and experiences I'm excited about. One of my favorite things about having my own business is getting to write, create, and share with you! I love to learn, and part of that for me is teaching and facilitating. Without the intuitive, creative piece, I would not feel a sense of accomplishment in my work, end of story.
My business model is simple and lean. I can, and do (by choice), run my business as just myself and perhaps a VA (when I'm running programs) and a contractor here and there. When people start talking about generating more significant income amounts, they are rarely, if ever, talking about net profit - but that's what matters. Here's the thing - with higher income, you are often looking at much higher expenses (and headaches) associated with that 6 or 7 figure income. Simple and lean is my preference and priority.
You have permission.
You have permission to prioritize other aspects of thriving besides your income. I encourage you to do so!
You have permission to want what you want in your work because it's what you want. There is no other standard of success except those that matter to you.
Let me repeat it - you have full permission to pursue your dreams of success in whatever form that success may take.
How others define success has nothing to do with you or what you can, will, or want to do, have, or create. Your definition of more than enough, and success, is yours and yours alone.
I want you to generate an income that fuels the life you want and to charge appropriately, AND I want you to prioritize what is most meaningful to you in your work and your life.
You are invited to claim your measures of success - write them down and then, note how it feels to claim your vision, your version of success. It is, after all, the only thing that matters at the end of the day.