Recovering Corpoholics

Ep 27 - How Your Definition of Success is Holding You Back

March 23, 2022 Felicia Serano-Shtivelman Season 1 Episode 27
Recovering Corpoholics
Ep 27 - How Your Definition of Success is Holding You Back
Show Notes

In today’s episode, we’ll discuss how your definition of success is holding you back. 

Find the show notes for this episode at

I’ve been chasing success for as long as I remember. From early on, I wanted to get the best grades, get into the best schools, get the job with the best employer, and so on. 

And if you are in Corporate America, most likely, this is something that you may feel or have felt, too. 

Success is deeply personal and everyone has their own definition. However, some of our definitions of success are not our own. They may be our parents, our mentors or even what we think is success based on society. 

And if you’re not clear on what success is to you, then you may get stuck in a career or doing work that actually doesn’t matter to you. 

That’s why today, I want to talk about how your definition of success is holding you back.

Why our definition of success in wrong

According to society, we have been taught that the higher we perform or the higher the value of things we have to show for our actions, the more successful we are. 

For example, from a young age, we were all taught that the higher the grades, the smarter and more successful we were. 

And as we grew up, that translated into the higher the salary, the the higher # of likes or followers we have, the more expensive our car is, the bigger the house, the better/bigger company we work for, the higher up the position, and I can go on… the higher the success. 

And in my opinion, this leads us to having a competition mindset. You want the best grades, you want to make the most money, you want the highest positions, you want to be the smartest in the room and so on. 

That is at least until you get to a level where you feel like you made it. 

But in order for that to happen, you need to do or be better than others. And even though you don’t want people to necessarily lose, you do want to win so therefore, something has to give. 

This competition mindset also makes us fear losing. And not just that you did better than me on a test, losing. Losing then feels like anything less than what we have or what we want. And we then directly feel like we lost our value or we’re not as good enough. 

It’s like we're all in a race and we’re scared to come in last place. Like in the Olympics, only the top 3 get rewarded.

We start to think, “if I don't get the best grades, I won't go to the best school. If I dont go to the best school, I won't get the best job. If I don't get the best job, I won't make the best salary. If I don’t have a good salary, I won't be able to have the lifestyle I want. And if that happens, no one will respect me and I'll be alone.” 

Unless we finish in a top place, nothing is good enough and we are scared of the worst case scenarios. We are scared of being mediocre. And when we are acting this way, competition and being the best becomes our life.

And how successful we feel directly correlates to how we feel about ourselves. The more successful you feel, for the most part, the happier you are. The more fulfilled you are.

Success is not our own

And if you think about it, success is then something we don't have control over. We are letting others decide what success looks like for us. 

We may say that we don’t care about what others think about us but in reality, we are living our lives based on what others do think about us...