Rewrite your new, personal definition of success based on who you are and what’s important to you. Write it down. Come back to it in a few days and amend it. Notice how you feel when you immerse yourself in the version of success you’ve discovered that is solely based on who you are. Remember, success is a manner of traveling. How will you approach your life differently based on what you’ve discovered? Are you closer to success than you thought?
Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.
As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Linda Bucher.
Linda Bucher is known as the GO BIG COACH. A celebrated Master Certified Life Coach, transformative speaker and author. Linda holds her MBA from SUNY at Buffalo. She enjoys working with multi-passionate high achievers who are excited about making a positive impact on the world to helps them unleash their full potential and give their gifts to the world while living balanced lives.
Incorporating her multiple coaching certifications and diverse life experiences with over 25 years of corporate experience and 13 years as an entrepreneur, Linda sits in a unique place to coach and mentor smart, talented people who are ready and eager to break through their barriers and experience success on their own terms.
Linda works with celebrity musicians, artists, physicians and business owners to overcome the unique challenges that come with having so big a gift to give to the world. She is also a business strategist, frequently contributing her experience and expertise to large companies, universities, and organizations. While leading hundreds of workshops, she has delivered numerous tools to empower others to lighten their load and live balanced lives. Linda is also the founder of the Conscious Expanders™ Movement and holds a position on the board of directors for the non-profit organization, SheCAN!https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/ade3ff516857b9001789f7b17506183a
Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?
Thank you for this opportunity. I’m excited to be here. I wasn’t always the clear, confident coach and speaker I am today. In fact, I used to be a chameleon, shaping my world around others wants and needs, not knowing there was so much more in store for me.
There are two distinct experiences that have both revealed and shaped who I am today. The first was the unexpected death of my husband in 2003, leaving me a sudden widow and single mom of three, young, grieving children. Beyond the grief, however, I was able to see that right in front of me was an opportunity to discover who I am, outside of my roles and responsibilities. So, as I made a new normal for my children and healed my heart, I also embarked on a journey of self-discovery. It was scary endeavor, filled with fear of what the future would bring and worry. What if I or the people I cared about didn’t like who I discovered? It turns out that the me I discovered is a creative, grateful and heart-centered soul who has unique gifts to share with the world.
The second life-shaping experience began when I plucked Martha Beck’s ‘Finding Your Own North Star’ from the bottom of my cedar chest where, for 9 years, it waited patiently until I was ready for it. It appeared in my life when I was ready for the message. As I devoured its pages, I discovered within me a profound sense of purpose in helping others to heal, grow and balance their lives so they, too, can give their gifts to the world. Inspired by the book, I enrolled in a yearlong program to train and certify as a life coach.
As you can imagine, there are plenty of storms to weather when you’re raising three adopted, grieving children who then become typical limit-testing preteens. Add to that learning and mastering a brand-new field and starting a business while juggling a full-time job, I knew something had to give.
So, like the bird who goes out on the limb — not because it trusts the limb not to break, but because it trusts its wings to fly, I, too, trusted my wings.; I abandoned the definition of success I had been chasing my whole adult life, found the confidence to quit my 6-figure salaried job, and embarked full steam ahead on a brand-new career as a life coach, speaker, and entrepreneur.
Discovering my true passion and purpose led to redefining success around who I am. Incorporating the tools and concepts I’ve learned throughout coach trainings, certifications, and experience into all aspects of my life over the last decade and a half keeps me living a peaceful, balanced life. Trusting my wings enables me to fly.
We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?
Exhausting is how I’d describe most of my adult life. It had become a never-ending production of long hours spent climbing the corporate ladder in pursuit of the big house, nice car, and six-figure salary. I worked hard. I impressed the right people. I accomplished. But the more I achieved those goals, the more exhausted I became and the less I felt like me.
By my mid-forties, I began to question just who I was and just what I was doing. One of my biggest aha’s was in discovering the reason for my exhaustion and discontent: what I was striving for wasn’t actually success; instead, I was striving to achieve what I thought success should look like. In fact, I had spent the better part of 25 years chasing someone else’s definition of success.
Myths and misconceptions about success are created by those beliefs that have been influenced by our upbringing, by the picture of success portrayed in the media and on social media, and by our perception of “successful” people in our field. Like all myths and misconceptions, these influences show us something far from our own truth.
How has your definition of success changed?
My definition of success changed when I realized that I am at the center of my success. My success is about my passion and purpose and entailed that I look deeply into who I am and what is most important to me.
My definition of success is as individual as I am. I discovered that success doesn’t revolve around promotions, salary level, status, money or things. It revolves, instead, around freedom, fulfillment, and life balance. Success inherently encompasses the relationships I desire including the relationship I have with myself. Happiness is the true success. To the extent that money and belongings support the freedom, fulfillment, and life balance I desire, I go for it. In casting the role of money for my life, however, I am careful never to use it as a measuring stick of my worth. And, when I mathematically calculated how much money I need to earn in order to live my definition of success, I discovered it was a lot less than I thought!
In my book, ‘The Confident Coach: Connecting the Work You Love to the Success You Want to Achieve,’ I posed a radical proposition: ‘It’s time to replace the definition of success you’ve been operating under with a personal definition of success: one that reflects who you are, because when you wrap what you’re doing and how you’re doing it around who you are, success and happiness will meet you there.’
The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic?
Just like the tragedy of losing my husband presented an opportunity to discover who I was outside of roles and responsibilities so that I could ultimately redefine success for who I am, the pandemic has presented a similar opportunity to each of us as individuals.
As we begin to redefine success for ourselves, I believe society will naturally shift its perception of success. We need to demonstrate that true success is individual and achievable to help our children discover what is most important to them, being careful not to push our beliefs on them. We can encourage our children to pursue what lights them up and, by example, demonstrate self-love and positive relationships with others — as both are an important part of personal success.
Younger generations are often highly influenced by social media. Their perception of success can become tainted, much like mine was, as they compare their insides to others’ outsides. They are watching and listening. If each of us is conscious about sharing what really constitutes success in word and deed, on social media and other media channels, it may relieve some of the pressure they feel toward pursuing other people’s definition of success and free them up to follow their true, unencumbered selves.
What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.
It’s been my experience that some of the worst things to happen to us turn out to be an opening for something bigger or better. One of the clients I worked with before the pandemic is a gifted professional singer whose mission is to inspire others to take the world by storm.
He was knee deep in resistance, struggling to make the moves he knew in his gut he should make. As a result, he couldn’t fully give his gifts to the world or inspire others to do the same. He needed to redefine success so he could better focus his actions and release the things that were not in service of his goals.
Through the process of redefining success, he was able to determine the changes he needed to make, and the world began to open up for him. His calendar for the next 2 years was booked as he began to land engagements at venues he used to only dream about. He was sought out to perform the lead role he had been waiting his whole life to perform and off to Paris he flew to begin rehearsals.
Then the world shut down and so did each of the performances on his calendar. But the pandemic had a gift for my client. If he had been rehearsing in Paris, he never would have said yes when invited to be on The Voice.
Instead of reaching a few thousand people at each of the performances that had been cancelled, he was able to perform for 8.2 million viewers in a single night! Many episodes later, he made his way to the finals, with millions of people rooting for him. Because of the pandemic, not only has he achieved many of the milestones identified in his personal definition of success, but he is also actively living his mission and inspiring others to take a chance on themselves and share their gifts with the world!!
We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?”
#1: Assess what definition of success you’ve been operating under. Ask yourself whose definition it is and how long you’ve been chasing it.
When I looked closely, I found I was working toward a goal that didn’t include what was most important to me: freedom. In fact, until that point, I hadn’t even asked myself what was most important to me. Instead, I had unintentionally absorbed a definition of success I had never questioned. I grew up observing my father who worked hard, earned advanced degrees, climbed the corporate ladder and proudly purchased a manufacturing corporation. Along the way he upgraded to bigger fancier homes, purchased expensive vehicles, and joined a country club.
It seemed natural for me to follow the same path. Except that the destination I set for myself hadn’t come from my soul at all! I had spent most of my adult life chasing someone else’s definition of success. I also hadn’t questioned my beliefs about what the road to success looked like. I was still operating under the guise of “work hard”, “do it the right way,” “gain status,” “win admiration”, and “buy stuff that demonstrates my success.” If you read between the lines, my MO was work hard to prove my worth.
Once you fully understand the legacy definition of success that you’ve been operating under, give yourself permission to release it. After all, it was either unattainable or unsustainable because it wasn’t tailored to who you truly are.
#2: Realize that success is not a destination; it’s a road you travel. Its twists and turns, its strategically located signposts and experiences are unique and meaningful only to you.
When you define success for who you are you will free yourself from chasing things that don’t truly resonate with you. You’ll be liberated from doing things other people’s way, you’ll feel less pressure, you’ll be able to navigate better and everything fuzzy will become clear. When your what, your why and your how come from your soul, you’ll finally connect your actions with your desires and experience momentum and growth like never before. This way of living is the road of success.
#3: Explore Freedom, Fulfillment, and Life Balance as it Relates to You
At the heart of many of our desires is a yearning for freedom. When you think about your most successful life, what will you be free to do? Why are each of those freedoms important to you? As you ponder your reasons for wanting these freedoms, you’ll discover deeper motivations that will become the foundation of your personal definition of success.
Incorporating fulfillment into your definition of success gives meaning to what you’re doing. Fulfillment incorporates concepts like personal values, purpose, and satisfaction. I often ask my clients to make a list of what lights them up because positive emotions go hand in hand with fulfillment.
When your life feels like one big juggling act, it is unbalanced which means you’re always in a state of shifting and longing because something important is always getting shortchanged. Getting clear on the perfect balance between your career, your relationships and yourself requires you to get rid of your beliefs about how much time and energy you’re supposed to allot to different areas of your life. Then you can feel your way into the proportions that make you feel light and buoyant. Consider how you would ideally allocate your precious capacity, time, and energy.
By this step, you should be pretty clear on what success looks like for you. Yet, we haven’t talked about money. Explore the things you’d do and purchase in your ideally successful life — the money or belongings you’ll need to have the freedom, fulfillment, and life balance you identified in the last step. But start each sentence with, “If it can’t be used as a measuring stick of success by me or anybody else, is this purchase or activity is important and how does it relates to my definition of success?”
#4: Rewrite your new, personal definition of success based on who you are and what’s important to you.
Write it down. Come back to it in a few days and amend it. Notice how you feel when you immerse yourself in the version of success you’ve discovered that is solely based on who you are. Remember, success is a manner of traveling. How will you approach your life differently based on what you’ve discovered? Are you closer to success than you thought?
#5: Get clear on just how ready you are to live the success you desire
Most people with a vision to fulfill or a gift to give start on The Island of Playing It Safe™. But that’s not the place from which these aspirations are realized. Once you’ve discovered what success means for you, you’re ready to take the next step. If you’d love to expand your brilliance, maximize your creative power, step into your magnificence, optimize your life, career, business, and relationships, live a big, beautiful, rich, full life, and Go Big — whatever the definition of going big means to you — you’ll have to leave The Island of Playing It Safe™. There are 3 stages one must pass through to leave The Island of Playing It Safe™: the Island Dweller stage, the Dock Seeker stage, and the Adventurer stage. You can find out what stage you’re in at https://bit.ly/TakeTheLittleQuizForGoingBig_AuthorityMagazine.
How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?
I mentioned that for decades I had been chasing someone else’s definition of success. If any of the following feel true, you’re probably doing the same:
- Your life looks great on paper, but it doesn’t feel fun or rewarding.
- Achieving the markers of success leaves you unfulfilled.
- You feel tethered, tired, and constrained.
- Your days feel like a giant juggling act.
- There’s no room in your life for you.
- You long for clarity but all you experience is smoke and haze.
- You crave inspired action but feel directionless and paralyzed.
- You’re unable to use your knowledge and experience in rewarding ways.
- There’s a rift between what you’re willing to do and what you believe ways it will to take to be successful.
When you live by your definition of success, however:
- Life and work take on a whole new feel and balance.
- Your relationships will improve.
- You’ll show up as your best self for those you love and who depend on you.
- It will be much easier to align your focus to what’s important to you.
- You’ll find yourself naturally motivated, inspired, and happier.
- Your actions will be fueled with positivity making easy to stay on track and cultivate your successful life that much sooner.
- And you’ll be unstoppable in giving your gifts to the world!
What are the biggest obstacles that stand in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?
Most obstacles that we perceive are actually mindset obstacles in disguise. Once you get out of your own way — which includes becoming aware of how you experience the world and why, and let go of the beliefs that are keeping you where you don’t want to be — you’ll be on your way to achieving success.
If you’re new to the concept of redefining success, some things may not have occurred to you. You may have never asked yourself what success would look like if you weren’t concerned about what other’s think. In this article I’ve given you a few tools to help you over this obstacle.
Perhaps you have been so caught up in being everything to everyone else that you don’t understand who you truly are. I suggest thinking about when you feel the most energized and excited. What are you doing? Who are you with? What aren’t you concerned about? I’ve got another slew of thought-provoking questions to help with this, but this will give you a good start.
Then there’s the obstacle of believing that success will take more than you’re willing or able to give, which makes success seem either unattainable or unsustainable. This obstacle is just a belief (note for your refrigerator: Stop believing everything you think!) Find evidence to the contrary by finding examples of times in your life when a success didn’t take more than you were willing to give; examples of success that you not only attained, but that have been sustainable.
The biggest obstacle of all, however, is not knowing — at a visceral level, that you truly deserve the success fueled by your deepest desires. Beneath this obstacle is the underlying belief that you’re not enough. Most people have worthiness doubts, even though I assure you that worthiness is neither earnable nor degradable. In fact, you are 100% worthy and have been since the day you were born. It’s only your perception of your worthiness that has been degraded, not your worth itself. The great news is that you don’t actually have a worthiness obstacle, you have a perception obstacle and that it’s just a matter of repairing your sense of worthiness, a specialty of coaches like me.
Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?
Each of us is ever evolving and so, therefore, are our individual definitions of success. Exposing ourselves to other’s experiences can spark change and growth, which is why I love hearing stories of why and how other people have redefined success.
I consider myself a Conscious Expander™ — a term I coined over a decade ago to describe those of us who are learning and growing on purpose and in alignment with our purpose. We seek to grow in all aspects, essentially expanding in a 360-degree way. We want to expand our expertise and evolve our consciousness. We want to grow personally and professionally, emotionally, and spiritually, and as a conduit to that which we are here to give. Which is why I constantly gather wisdom from growth-minded people.
One of the ways I continue my personal growth is by showcasing interesting people on my webcast, ‘Conversations Worth Your While,’ a show in which I chat with really cool people about interesting topics to spark, inspire and motivate personal and professional change. I meet the most interesting people and learn so much!
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.
Because I help my clients unleash their potential, I love connecting with multi-passionate, creatives who have already done this and are unstoppable in giving their gifts to the world. I love to learn about how they have redefined success for themselves and about the obstacles they faced along the way. I also love to laugh, and I marvel at creative genius, so… Alec Baldwin, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Bill Murray, Kristin Wiig, Bill Hader… do I have to choose just one? You’re all invited over for the most fun dinner party ever (I make a mean lasagna), and perhaps you’ll consider being a guest on my webcast!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
To learn more about how I help people to lighten their load and unleash their gifts on the world, go to https://lindabucher.com.
You can find out how close you are to living your definition of success at https://bit.ly/TakeTheLittleQuizForGoingBig_AuthorityMagazine.
You can learn new things from growth-minded people on my show, ‘Conversations Worth Your While,’ at https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVy7ieTqsII1n5w1b5QEqpcIFSDU3uRsq
You can send me a note from here: https://lindabucher.com/contact-us/
And I’d love if you’d connect with me on social media:
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.