The Lies We Tell Ourselves About Success

Jul 16, 2023
strategic foresight, redefining success, strategic foresight Jared Nichols, strategic foresight North Carolina

Let's get real. You and I often find ourselves knotted up in a mess of societal expectations and self-deception on the road to "success." We're told that success is a shiny car, a high-powered job, a big house, and a bank account bursting at the seams.

But let me ask you this: Are these stories propelling you forward or holding you back?

Answering that question requires you first understand the true power of narratives, the trap of borrowing someone else's definitions of success, and how to redefine success on your terms.


Narratives are the stories you tell yourself to make sense of your world.

They're the filters through which you perceive your experiences, molding your beliefs, values, and expectations. In many ways, they shape how you interpret success. If you've convinced yourself that success is about reaching the top of the corporate ladder, that's the story you'll live out. But what if there were different tales to tell?

The real issue with narratives isn't their existence but where they come from. Too often, you might live out narratives passed down by society, family, or peers. These stories might work for them, but they can limit your potential by setting a fixed path.


When you accept other people's definitions of success, you're setting yourself up for a lifetime of discontent.

Essentially, you're trying to live someone else's life. And no matter how hard you try, you'll only find true success when you're authentic to yourself.

Moreover, these definitions usually revolve around external markers of success – money, status, power – and neglect what fulfills you. They don't consider your passions, values, or the impact you want to create.


So, how do you break free from these restricting narratives? Start with what I call an 'expectations audit.' This involves deeply examining the expectations about success you've absorbed. Ask yourself:

Which expectations are truly mine, and which have I borrowed from others? 

Are these expectations serving me, or are they stunting my growth?

This process demands honesty and bravery. It's about facing the lies you've told yourself, recognizing them, and releasing them. It's about reclaiming your power to define success for yourself.

Your Terms

Once you've audited your expectations, it's your moment to redefine success on your terms. This isn't about rejecting all external markers of success but about aligning them with your inner values and desires.

What does success look like for you? It could be positively impacting your community, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, or pursuing a passion project.

Remember, your definition of success is valid, no matter how unconventional it might appear to others. After all, you're the one who has to live with it.

Redefining success on your terms offers you freedom. It empowers you to chase what truly matters, leading to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

All that to say, let's stop lying to ourselves about success. Let's challenge the narratives we've been handed, carry out an expectations audit, and redefine success on our terms. It's time to author your own success stories.

Remember, it's your future. Why let someone else create it? 

If you're ready to redefine success and need guidance on this journey, consider joining the Foresight Academy. Here, you'll acquire invaluable skills to navigate your future and craft the success story that deeply resonates with you.

Discover more about the Foresight Academy today.


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