It was tenacious planning that enabled me to climb the Success Ladder with ease. It was a steep journey and I kept my focus upwards, continually striving for the next rung, each one representing an achievement:
Status: check, Money: check, Car: check, Recognition: check, Qualification: check, Property: check…
Until I got close to the top and realized that my plan omitted some rather important aspects of success:
Alignment with my values: fail, Personal fulfillment: fail, Enjoyment: fail, Happiness: fail.
Truthfully, it was my body that alerted me first, when it dramatically ‘took me out’ one day as I was bending down to plug in the vacuum cleaner – my lower back went into spasm and I couldn’t stand up. In agony and with tears streaming down my face, I called my mum whose first words to me were “Are you listening yet?” Yeah, cheers mum. Those wise words were hard to hear at the time, but they have since become very helpful in identifying when it’s time to stop.
What followed was two weeks laid up in bed and a sudden realisation that while I was climbing from achievement to achievement, I’d managed to successfully plan myself into being stressed out, knackered and miserable. Sure, I’d climbed the success ladder with ease but wrong by wrong!
So, I jumped. I quit the corporate world, sold my car, dumped the boyfriend, sold the flat and left the country…
Now, arguably this was a more dramatic readjustment than was necessary, but by that stage, backtracking down rung by rung was for me, a far more daunting prospect than just starting again.
I spent 4 years in Australia, travelling and bumming about on beaches, working in customer services, studying Clinical Hypnotherapy and reassessing my success strategy. Being on the other side of the world away from the relationships and circumstances that led to my jump, certainly gave me a new perspective on life, but whilst it makes for a great story, I’m not recommending it either. Oz was a great experience and I wouldn’t change how it panned out for me, but what I have since learnt is that had I paused for a while at each rung at the time to take stock, I could have gained that new perspective from right where I was.
So, if you’re also on a steep climb up the Success Ladder, good for you! But are you focused solely on the rung above you? I’d recommend that you pause occasionally to look sideways and notice what’s going on around you. Look downwards and notice the people who are climbing with you. Listen to your body and take notice of what’s happening physically as you climb to the next rung. And most importantly, identify the real purpose of the climb – in other words, check that your success ladder is leaning against the right wall!
As I travel around the country, I meet lots of people with similar stories.. perhaps some of them will post here.. Equally, if we have not yet connected, but you have some insight to offer or an experience to share, you are very welcome to 🙂