When I invite clients to define success, I ask them to define what matters TO THEM. I invite them to ignore what the world tells them they should focus on, and instead, look inside to their own internal wisdom and values to define success for themselves.
Then, I ask them to break down the question of what matters to them in a variety of areas in their life.
When I ask clients the question, “What matters to you in your physical health?”, I remind everyone this is an inside out answer, coming from within themselves, not to be driven by what the world tells us.
Still, When I ask male clients this question, they almost always talk about stamina, energy, the desire for long life, and enough strength and energy to do what they want.
When I ask my female clients this question, they often respond like my client Dee.
“I want to be smaller and look better in my clothes.”
So, with Dee (and all the other Dees I have coached through the years), I go a little deeper.
“When did you first have that thought?” I asked.
“When I was 10,” she said with no hesitation.
“Where did you get that idea from?” I asked.
“From my mom. She said I was getting chubby, and it was time to turn it around, so I didn’t end up being fat.”
She teared up. “My whole life, I’ve just wanted to be smaller.”
I encouraged her to be kind and loving to that little girl inside of her who was scared and hurt by what her mom had said. Dee’s mom wasn’t evil. She, and the millions of moms who thought (and sadly sometimes still think) that by criticizing their young daughters, they’ll help them get “healthy.” Those well-meaning moms were just repeating the message from the world— women need to be a size and shape that is pre-set by culture, not by your body.
I asked her to answer the question as if no one else’s options, judgments, or comparisons mattered.
What matters to YOU when it comes to your physical health?
The answer came free and flowing with such power.
“I want to have enough energy to play with my grandkids. I want to be strong enough to be able to carry my own suitcase when I travel so I can choose where and when I want to go. I want to have the stamina to walk with friends, and I want to have the mobility to move however I want. I want to be healthy enough to live a long life.”
Beautiful. That’s what matters to her—it has deeper roots and longer legs.
IDEAS INTO ACTION
No, it’s your turn. Get quiet. Take three slow breaths. Ask yourself these questions (beware of your inner critic (always fueled by old stories/wounds.) Instead, ask the wisdom within you to answer these questions. These don’t have to be your answers for all time. Just for now, in this particular season of life, you are in right now.
What matters to you in your spiritual life?_______________
What matters to you in your family life?________________
What matters to you in your physical health?_______________
What matters to you in your work?______________________
What else matters to you?______________________