What is Your Definition of Success?
- [Sheri] How many of you guys have defined success for you? Denise, you're shaking your head. You haven't defined it yet? Who in here has actually defined success for themselves and wrote it down? Yeah. Now, look at that. I want everybody, turn and look at each other. If you're in the front, look at the back. Everybody turn. Look at each other, look at your neighbor. Everybody look at each other. Look at each other. Guys, everybody in this room is grown. Everyone in here is striving and thriving and pushing and pressing, sacrificing and investing in success. And nobody said they've actually defined it. - [Woman 1] I was going to say I might have defined it, but I can assure you it was wrong. Absolutely wrong. - Or it just needs adjusting. - Correct. - But here's the reason I had you look at each other, because you're not an anomaly. We are the norm. We are the norm. And then when I did stop and define it, it was exactly what she said. It wasn't honest. It's what I thought, "I want to ...
be a multimillionaire and I want to be..." And that's okay, we all want that, that's a given. But what about the person who literally wants to serve in missions work in Africa? Is that not success? What about the person that dedicates themselves to serving the underprivileged and never get paid? They live on missions trip and they go from home to home. That's not success? If money is the only definition of success, then all of us are robbing ourselves of a real life called exponential living. But many times that's kind of the mark, right? What is your definition of success? If you had to just take a stab at what it is based on just what we've done so far, and there's no right or no wrong. There's no guide. There's no test. It's just your heart and your truth. And online I want you guys to write yours down. If you're watching this with a group of people, share it amongst yourselves. But I want everybody to really take that moment and think about, and I'll start it off. I'm going to start it off. My definition of success in the beginning of my journey was just what I said. I wanted to make a lot of money so I could take care of my mom, my dad, take care of my kids. That was it, from 15 to about 30. I used to tell my dad all the time, "I'm going to be a millionaire by the time I'm 30." That was success. And then you say the money then gives you the cars and the houses, and I can travel. But as I begin to mature into exponential living, my definition of success is rooted in peace. It's rooted in peace. I have had everything I've ever wanted and I've been homeless. And in each end of the continuum, the only thing that mattered to me was peace. When I had money to buy whatever and I was filled with fear and anxiety, or when I didn't have the money and I was trying to figure out where me and my daughter we're going to lay our heads, in both situations, the money didn't matter. Having or didn't having it, being in a big home or being in someone else's home. What mattered to me was peace. And when I was able to really lock into the peace, I realized that I wanted the freedom to make decisions. I wanted the courage to make decisions. That was peace for me, that was success for me. From that, I then began to say that when I am in a place of peace and clarity and courage, I want a career that not only fulfills me, but allows me to create something of substance in the world. And In that career, I want to be able to control my schedule, so that I can be just as present with my family as I am for others. And in that time of being present for my family with a career that I can decide how I create the time in it, I want to be paid for the value that I bring. In that, I want to be able to negotiate contracts that allow me to have a surplus in my life because I love to travel. You see how this is going? See where I started and see where I'm going? Peace doesn't eliminate the end result of whatever we say that is. For some us it may be touring the world. I want to make just enough money that I can be in a...whatever, you know. I don't know if I can say the name on camera, but those places that you can stay and it's not a hotel. I want just enough for that. Or maybe I want a 20-room mansion. That doesn't matter. What matters is who you are when you get there. What does success mean to you? Actually, do we want to spend some time on that? I don't want to move too fast. I don't want to move too fast. Yeah, let's spend some time there. - [Woman 2] Based on what you were saying, I found myself saying the definition of success is to be happy and I realized there's a certain amount of innocence to saying it that way. And then I realized this seems more tactical to be like, "Okay, how do you define happiness? What does that make up?" And actually spending the time and getting real with what that is. To your point, having gobs of money, it solves some problems but doesn't necessarily make you happy. - Yeah. - So I think that was a powerful statement there. - Thank you, thank you. Yes, and we'll come over here. - My challenge in going back to what is success and what's appropriate, everything keeps coming back to titles and expectations. My challenge is understanding titles and expectations and what it takes to get there. A personal example is, I wanted to spend time with my kids, as we established earlier, and so per expectations are "the norm," I would take them to the park. I hate the park. I mean it's one of those things...and I realized I hate spending time with my children at the park, which makes me sound like an awesome mother, but it goes back to those titles that I'm trying to live up to. So what's a good mom, again title, so eliminate the title. I feel like the board has been wiped clean and it's trying to rebuild. So now what is the definition of success for me, in terms of time with my children, and it means playing games and doing one-on-one activities, not where they're having a grand time, but I am tortured. So I think that that's the hard part sitting with this is it's reevaluating the way that you look at things and just wiping titles clean and then wiping expectations of others or trying to live others' success. That's the hardest part. - Yes. - I don't think it's going to be solved today, but I think that's where my head keeps spinning. - The good thing, I'm glad you said it, because remember we started with this is a journey. I told you. You wasn't going to walk away here with all the answers, but you was going to walk away with what to do, to continue the cycle to get there. I'm so glad you said that about your children. Because you're right, they feel the energy when we're doing something with them that we really don't want to do versus finding those things that allow us to really be together. I know I caught myself taking my daughter to the movies, but it was because I could just sit there and zone out. That's not quality time. Not that we won't take them to the movies, but quality time is putting ourselves in an environment where we can engage and connect. So you're right, creating that space. Denise, and then I'm going to come here. - [Denise] I think it was sort of hard for me to define success because this week I spent a lot of time assisting really successful people at work and just listening to their conversations about all their travel and their cars and all that they have and all that they're doing and all that their kids are dong, and then going home thinking, "Hmm, this is where I am." But actually being okay with where I am because I thought about where I came from and all that I didn't have. So I actually am pretty successful in my own right, but it was hard to define it after being in a room for a few days comparing myself to people who were like really rich and successful. So there's a difference where you just have to look in the mirror and be successful for yourself and not try to base it on everyone else. - Yes. If you had asked me... Pass it right here. If you had asked me after I was working at LaFace Records, I'm working with the biggest artists in the world, I had a business for 15 years that was extremely financially successful, gave me great access, but I didn't feel like I was successful. But it was because of that. "Well, but I don't have five cars, I got one car. I don't have the 20,000-square foot home, I have the 4..." You know? I was like, "Do you understand how much you're robbing yourself of your own truth?" Because when I tell you, when I finally had this revelation I cried for days because it broke my heart that I could not say, "I am successful." I couldn't say it. You guys are farther along than I was. I couldn't even say it. And what a lie to live, that at any level we're in, if you wake up everyday, that's a gift. You are successful. See, I couldn't even say it. You guys are at least ahead of the game, you can say it. - [Woman 3] A lot of the times... - Can you stand up for us? - ...I think of things in metaphors. So when I was looking at the definition of success, I was thinking last year when I was speding 100% of my time, living 10%, that was me merely painting with gray. I recently started painting, so this is the metaphor. But I realized that each one of us has really been given an artist palette at birth with all of our gifts and our talents, and that's all of those different colors. So to me now, the definition of success is utilizing all of those colors in my life to make art as all of us will. Art, in general, connects people, it makes people happy. So for me, now moving forward, I think my definition of success is utilizing all of those colors versus just merely painting with gray. - Beautiful. Okay, that's another note I'm going to write down. So again, I am a sports fanatic. I am, I love sports. And the University of Alabama won a National Championship as they have done many, many years. And they had a freshman, true freshman. Now a true freshman means last year this time he was in high school, high school. Came in second half, the team was behind, he came in the second half, and literally won this game. Not only won the game, but won the game on a last second touchdown in over time. I mean, talk about the pressure, right? Freshman, 18-year-old kid, literally 100 miles from home, and he comes in, scores the winning touchdown, it's a 40-something yard touchdown. I got to set this up, guys. Twenty-six yards, like second and twenty-six. I mean this was one of the most impossible scenarios that Hollywood writes up all the time, right? And Hollywood can write on the script, "And he throws the winning touchdown." But in real life we're not living a script. But this kid threw a winning touchdown. Afterwards they asked him, "How could you, as an 18-year-old, who was in high school last year, who literally after the game ran to his parents and fell in their arms crying like any 18-year-old kid would do, how did you have the calmest ability, the focus to come in and do this, to bring your team back from a major deficit, to win a championship game at this level, in over time after being pushed back 20-some yards?" And he told the reporters he prayed for peace. He prayed for peace. Peace. He wasn't franctic, he wasn't stressed out. I mean, how many of us really think, "If I'm not really rared up and ready to go, I'm not focused. Okay, I got to...I got to do this. I got to... Oh my God. Okay." Worry and stress is what gets me focused, right? He prayed for peace. He told the reporters it was that peace, it was the peace that gave him the ability to stay calm, that peace.
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“Sheri has been an instrumental part of my life. Her support and guidance of my personal and professional growth helped mold the man and artist that I am today.” —Usher, International Entertainer, Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist
Have you achieved a certain level of success, graduated from college and finally secured that dream job, yet you are not feeling fulfilled?
Are you busy all the time, but not feeling satisfied with how you spend your days?
Do you know that there is a better way to work through your days?
Sheri Riley introduced the world to some of the most influential, multi-platinum artists of the 90’s including Usher, TLC, Toni Braxton, and Outkast. She rose to the top of her field, and yet she was miserable. Now she is an Empowerment Speaker, Personal Development/Leadership Coach, and Life Strategist. She works with high achievers to make choices that lead to less stress, more clarity, and internal peace.
Constantly striving to achieve one goal after another–and investing more in our careers than in our actual lives–have left many of us feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and disconnected from who we are—anything but happy.
Sheri Riley will share the secret that helped her regain her sense of self and purpose. In Exponential Living, she offers nine principles to help the busiest goal-oriented people integrate their professional success with whole-life success.