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Monday, February 6, 2012

My Road to Inner Success



In western culture (and increasingly it seems, eastern culture, too) the idea of being a "success" is rather narrowly defined. Typically, we claim that someone is successful if they've climbed the ladder of whatever profession they might in - whether that's sales, entertainment, healthcare, sports, politics or anything else. Or we might call someone successful if they've achieved a certain social standing or popularity.
I'm not here to suggest that these examples above aren't indications of a certain kind of success. However, I am here to boldly state that the common notion of success is really...well, it's unsuccessful. Let me explain.
When we view success only as an outward phenomenon - something that matters to other people, or that matters to a social circle - we deny the other aspect of life that is just as important: our inner world. And by "inner world," I don't mean something mystical or new age. I mean the world of personal peace, of being grounded, or being in touch with your body, and of course, of living a stress-free life. These elements are just as important as any other, outward manifestation of success.
In fact, it's arguable that at times success in the inner world is more important than success anywhere else, because if you aren't happy, peaceful and healthy, how can you even enjoy the outer success in the first place?
Frankly, that's the situation that I found myself in not all that long ago. I was in sales for over 25 years, with the last 9+ years as a sales manager for a Fortune 500 company. On average, I had 10-14 sales representatives reporting to me. It was an EXTREMELY busy time, and yes, it was also financially rewarding. On the outside, I was successful.
But on the inside, I was kind of a wreck. Work was eating up all of my time and energy, and the physical and mental toll was becoming too heavy to bear. Of course, I was "stuck" in my outward success and couldn't slow down - and so I started a pattern of working 12-hour days and sleeping 10-12 hours a night. Weekends passed as a blur of grocery shopping, laundry, napping and trying to catch up with work. I was stressed out to the MAX and ready to break apart.
Again, the point I'm trying to make here is that although I was still successful "on the outside," I was simply not succeeding on the inside - in my own personal world. And to make things even more challenging, I was diagnosed with a stress-induced disorder called fibromyalgia, and was almost certainly headed for even more health problems.
That's when I realized that if I didn't DO SOMETHING and break out of my cycle, I was probably going to collapse - and then both my outer success and inner success would be - to put it mildly - very, very unsuccessful. I didn't want to get to that point where I fell to the floor (maybe even literally) and didn't have the stamina or the motivation to get back up.
Somehow, I found the strength (maybe it was the last bit that I had left to use), took some time off from work, and made some tough decisions. I eliminated everything that stressed me out -- including several friends who were triggering stressful reactions within me, or who were what I call "stress enablers." It was hard to do this, but we're talking self-preservation here. It had to be done.
I read all the stress-related books and articles I could get my hands on, and took classes and seminars in lots of stress management modalities. I won't say that this experience was totally useless - there were kernels of wisdom and insight here and there - but it really didn't re-ignite my inner flame. That only happened when I hired a Life Coach, who helped me apply what I had learned to my own life. It took awhile but I finally started to feel better. And eventually, I experienced a feeling of joy that I had not felt in a very long time.
I put together what I learned from my illness and from my research, and today I am committed to maintaining an ongoing balance in my life. Now my personal mission is to help women avoid the stress and suffering that will make them sick, and empower them to live happier and more successful lives.
And yes, when I say "successful," you know that I mean INNER AND OUTER SUCCESS. Because in the truest sense, as I personally experienced, you either have both...or neither.
If you enjoyed these tips and would like more practical sales strategies, visit Zero Stress Selling today. Sue is known for her relaxed and authentic customized sales training.
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1 comment:

  1. Good web site... Surfing around looking for others who realize that any outer success is nothing without insight into who and what we are. Best to you all. SGHunter