Redefining Success with Sue Guiher
“There’s this definition of success that we feel like we have to live up to, and we forget that we need to live according to what we want and what makes us happy and fulfilled.” — Sue Guiher
I had the pleasure of speaking with Sue Guiher, a coach, and consultant on a mission to change how society defines success so that we can create more happiness and fulfillment in our work and businesses.
- Recognizing the ‘success bully’
- Defining success for ourselves
- Aligning the oxygen, the lens, and the anchor
Recognizing the ‘success bully’
Societal expectations can be fierce in their convictions, but they are not the end-all-be-all of a successful life. Sometimes life “success bullies” us onto paths we wouldn’t choose and that don’t align with our inner-self. Success bullying revolves around the loop we all have in our heads—go to that school, choose that career, marry that person, and so on—all the shoulds in life that play at guaranteeing success.
“It's not just internal success bullying, it's that in society, there is this definition of success that we feel like we have to live up to.” Sue explains, “And then all of a sudden, we start seeing ourselves living according to all these different shoulds. And we forget that we want to live according to what we want and what makes us happy and fulfilled.”
Success bullying happens when we make a decision based on societal promises to obtain a result we’ve been shaped to believe we want, even though it may not line up with our true desires and ambitions.
For some, climbing a tree and ziplining down from a platform is empowering and freeing. For others, it does nothing but cause stress and harm. Empowerment and success don’t come from the same place for everyone.
Defining success for ourselves
If we’re all chasing the same elusive version of success and fulfillment, we risk missing out on what aligns with our idea of a successful life. The sooner we define what success means to us, the sooner we can renounce success bullying.
“Many of the leaders that I work with on team productivity and culture, I have them ask their employees, ‘what makes you happy and what makes you feel successful and fulfilled?’ and understand that you could ask ten different people that question and get ten different answers, and all of them are right and need to be considered.”
If we look at the official definition of success, we see wealth, fame, and respect. We’re not taught that happiness and success go together.
“First we understand what we value, we align our values, and then we can define our success.” Sue shares, “We make sure that we align who we are when we define what success means for us.”
Sue has a proven method for helping discover those values.
Aligning the oxygen, the lens, and the anchor
There's an underlying essence of who we are as a person from which our values emerge. An understanding that can give us real insights into what motivates us, what gives us clarity around our journey and where we’re going, and what anchors us and gives us confidence and power to take action on that journey.
Sue breaks the discovery process down into three components:
- The Oxygen
- The Lens
- The Anchor
“Your oxygen is your motivation. It's what gives you purpose. Some people call it their drive. When you are out of alignment with your oxygen, you might feel a lack of motivation and be unsure why you feel suffocated.
“I hear this so often from people that are in the wrong job, business model, or workplace.” Sue shares.
If we're in alignment with our oxygen, we wake up in the morning excited, we know our purpose, and are doing work that we love.
“Your lens is how you see the world and how you show up in the world. It's almost that filter by which you make decisions. It’s often why people see the same thing completely differently because they have different lenses upon the world.” Sue explains.
When we’re out of alignment with our lens, we lack clarity, don't know what next steps to take, and are unclear on what to do.
“Your anchor is what grounds you, it's the deepest one, it's the one that you'll feel a visceral response to if it's triggered.” Sue points out.
If we're out of alignment with our anchor, we'll feel off balance. When we're aligned, we're confident and have clarity.
When all three are in alignment, we’re in flow and living as our best selves. As we explore the core of who we are, we may discover that success for us looks drastically different than the picture society paints—that’s okay.
We must always check in with ourselves about what success means to us and how to work toward that vision every day.
When was the last time you did something to support your version of success? Can you recall a time you were success bullied?