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How Can I Redefine Success?

I work with many clients who are experiencing anxiety related to the current state of the world in 2020. Prior to the pandemic, many clients in sessions would speak to what their goals were, what success looked like to them, and how they could reach their goals.  

I recently have been speaking to my clients about the idea of redefining success right now. There are certain things in life that are much more challenging than prior to the pandemic, and it is time to lean into the idea of self-compassion and grace in order to sooth our anxiety about what success was and what it looks like today. 

Below is a simple guide of questions and ideas to reflect about regarding success in this season of life we are all experiencing. 

  • Where did the idea of success stem from for you? I encourage clients to really think about this question. How was “success” discussed and talked about in your home growing up? Many people struggle to answer that question given that many times the idea of success was shown through their parents who may have a different idea of success. Others also imagine success to look like a highlight reel they see on social media outlets. Neither of those needs to be what success looks like in your life. 
  • What’s your ‘why’? Why do you want to be successful? Is it based on your values, interests, goals or someone else’s values, interests, or goals? For me, my “why” has always been to find ways to help people in person, but given the pandemic, I have since adjusted the idea of helping people in person and have shifted to helping others virtually via Zoom. 
  • Self-Compassion & Grace. I have been encouraging so many clients to give themselves some grace. So, you ate a couple extra cookies at dinner, we are still living in a very challenging season of life, a few extra cookies are okay, and needs to be okay. Self-compassion looks slightly different. You may have gotten more irritated with your partner and snapped at them, (because maybe you miss what life looked like pre-COVID), and then you later apologize to your partner. Allow yourself to have some self-compassion and forgive yourself for being a bit more irritable at times. 
  • To those employed. Balancing your job and your personal life can be challenging; balancing that while shifting from in office to 100% working remotely with less interaction with your coworkers is incredibly challenging for most to adapt to. Be kind to yourself, and make sure to separate a part of your home for ‘work only’ and ‘leisure only’. 
  • To the helping fields. Emotionally lifting people is challenging enough; emotionally lifting them during a pandemic is much more challenging. If you find yourself feeling tired/compassion fatigue, make sure to rest and do extra self-care when you are not working.  
  • To the parents. Parenting is hard enough; parenting and also helping your children with e-learning is much more challenging. Juggling work, your relationship, parenting, and now helping your kids learn in a completely new way is very stressful. Make time for yourself. Take that nap you have earned. Take a sip of your tea by yourself. Watch your favorite show to decompress. 
  • To the students. School is challenging; attending school in a completely different way whether it is with social distancing or through e-learning is much more challenging. Take a break on the weekends. Ask for help from your teachers, friends, your support system, or tutors. Learning during a pandemic is incredibly challenging. Applaud yourself for doing the best you can do all things considered.
  • To everyone. Consider redefining what ‘success’ looks like today. Life is much different for everyone and it is important to be kind to others and ourselves during this time. ‘Success’ likely has changed since March and that needs to be okay for your emotional and physical health. 

If you are currently struggling with anxiety, it may be a good idea to connect with one of our skilled counselors at Symmetry Counseling today. You can contact a Chicago therapist at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment.  

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