When I graduated from university, my contribution to the yearbook was “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life”.

It took 20 years in the workforce for me to understand that it was not enough to love what I did.
I also had to love who I was being while I did it.

And the truth is for large stretches of my global executive career, I did not even like who I was being.

I had been lured into chasing a ladder-climbing-at-all-costs version of success that did not actually work for me or my young family. This led to feeling stuck in patterns of unhealthy striving, competing and trying to prove myself. I ‘successfully’ clambered my way to the highest rungs of the organisations I worked for, but often I was so petrified of slipping that I completely lost touch with my sense of lightness and play. My clear-thinking and natural creativity was clouded by frantic busyness. My innate desire to link was being supressed under the pressure to rank. I was making the big bucks and travelling the world in business class, but inside it felt like I was on an out-of-control roller-coaster ride that was getting faster and faster.

So many of us are chasing a deeply flawed model of success – one based on status and money – and we are robbing ourselves of true happiness. We are terrified of losing jobs we don’t really like for reasons we can’t fully explain. We struggle with feelings of frustration and sadness. We precariously hold it together at work, but lose it with the people we love the most.

In order to survive and function, we numb ourselves with over-working, busyness, wine, food, social media, shopping and mindless content consumption. We work hard to fit in, to prove ourselves, and hustle for our worthiness, enough-ness and belonging. None of these strategies work. Over time we feel more and more overwhelmed. More and more alone. We grossly underestimate the full cost of maintaining our status-quo. Over time, our dis-ease at work morphs into ill health.

Our mainstream, definition of success at work is not working for us, our families, our organisations or our planet. I believe that changing the way we think about success is vital.

When we reimagine success, it become possible to create a working life that works in harmony with our other big loves, our communities and the delicate ecosystems we all inhabit

Today I embrace a far more sustainable definition of success. One that works for me, and my family.
One that lifts me out of the clutches of the  soul-destroying hustle for more money and more power.


This week I invite you to think about how you might re-define success.

Using the list below, reflect on the question : What does true success look like for me in this area of my life right now?

  • Business/Work
  • Family
  • Financial
  • Spiritual
  • Mental
  • Physical
  • Social

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.’

Maya Angelou