By: Melissa Killeleigh
Dear friend: Please know, I’m all about redefining! In fact, I’m all about RE-most-anything. I believe it is important to challenge the status quo, to get curious about life, and explore our options. Five years ago, I was in the midst of redefining what success meant to me. I’d spent twenty years living life by someone else’s standards: I went to college, finished with two degrees, delivered our commencement speech, went on to get a job in public accounting, received the raises I demanded, traded in the cubicle for coveted office space with a window, bought some property, and prepared to continue on with the American dream…
Until one day I woke up and realized how unhealthy and unhappy I was deep down inside. My employees were miserable, running a $20 million budget, and I had very little time to tend to the laundry list of health concerns I had.
Luckily, the part-time business I’d been building was beginning to bring in more money than my full time career in finance, so I took a leap of faith, I gave up the steady paycheck and state retirement. As it turns out, the gifts I’ve received in return hold far greater value than a 9-5 could ever offer.
I gave up a life that looked great from the outside, and began to design a life that feels amazing from the inside.
We often hear “life is a journey,” and it’s about the journey, not the destination.” It often doesn’t feel that way when you are on the journey, learning and growing in infinite ways but I’m here to tell you the journey IS the destination.
A great mentor once told me that beyond having my health, there was no greater gift, or commodity, than my time. When I accepted this as truth, I began to redefine success by this quintessential Tony Robbins quote: “Success is doing what you want to, when you want, where you want, with whom you want, as much as you want.”
Once you define what success means to you, the real work begins. I spent several years getting clear on what guides me – something I love to refer to as my internal navigation system – and then aligning everything with the values I discovered during this time. For example, if family is a core value, but you spend more time working than you do with your family, regardless of the money and material things in brings, how can you call that success? And what do you truly have?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe you have to give up money and material things to have a meaningful life. I believe we can lead rich and meaningful lives full of whatever it is that aligns with us. It is incredibly important to put the time in, reflecting on your core values so that you can create a life that aligns with them. (Hint: if you first thought is: Who has time for that? That’s a good clue that you should definitely make time for it!)
Values-driven living is the most simple means to living our best lives. Notice that I said ‘simple,’ because if you’re anything like me, it is not necessarily easy. It requires daily disciplines to keep your mind, heart, and soul decluttered in order to maintain the clarity required for values-driven decisions on the daily. It is also about choices. It means saying NO a whole lot more to those things that are not in alignment with your internal navigation, and saying YES a whole lot more to those that are. It also requires learning how to work in the natural ebb and flow of the cycles and seasons embedded in, and surrounding, our lives. The success rituals I practice daily, weekly, and monthly have become the foundation on which my richly and wildly satisfying life is being built.
Finally, redefining success is about community. Greatness is not created in isolation. Success is nothing without the practice of paying forward. We are here on this planet to help one another – to be better so we can do better. I am grateful for communities like the WBOC and PowerUp because together we ARE better. If anything here speaks to you, reach out. I’m here to create a better world one values driven life at a time. I’ll be happy to share the disciplines and practices I’ve developed and refined as I’ve redefined how to have it all in my life.
Melissa is a community liaison & contributer at Finger Lakes Woman, a magazine supporting local businesses in the Finger Lakes region. She is also the Regional Vice President and Independent Consultant of Arbonne.