• Simply Slow

    Slow Success: 10 Helpful Tips

    12 January, 2018

    In my previous post, I outlined what I’ve learnt about the traditional notion of success over the years and why I think it’s important to write our own definitions according to our individual situations. Now I’d like to share some tips and resources that have helped me along the way, in the hope that they might be useful to you, too.

    1. Know your values

    Figuring out what you truly believe in is a great starting point. Authenticity, balance, community, creativity, family, adventure… all these values (or any others you choose) can be used as a springboard for beginning to map out the kind of life you want to live.

    2. Work out what you really want

    The next step is to fill in the details. There are so many tools available to help you with this part, from happiness planners and goals journals to podcasts and coaches. The resource I’ve found most useful and inspiring this year is Susannah Conway‘s Unravel Your Year  workbook, which is generously available as a free download through her wonderful website. (Susannah also has a great Word for the Year  workbook.)

    3. Plot out the stepping stones

    Ok, so you know where you want to go… but how do you get there? For guidance with breaking down your big-picture dreams into achievable stepping stones, I’d really recommend this article on goal setting by Kayte Ferris of Simple & Season. Although its focus is mainly on planning for creative businesses, the practical tips and advice can easily be applied to any slower-paced approach to living.

    4. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain

    I know it’s much easier said than done and the self-doubt that comes with standing out from the crowd can feel overwhelming at times (trust me, I’ve been there) but, once you’ve pinned down your idea of success, hold your head high and have courage in your own convictions. Jen Carrington‘s podcast episode on “Staying Connected to your Version of Success” has some brilliantly wise words on this.

    5. Surround yourself with a positive community

    This goes hand in hand with staying true to yourself. For me, having a strong network of supportive and encouraging people around me has been key to having the courage to pursue what I really want in life. Whether it’s family, friends, work colleagues or an online community, surround yourself with people who are going to build you up rather than drag you down.

    6. Get inspired

    I find there’s no better way to connect with my dreams than spending a little time enjoying the inspiring words and images of others. Whether through books, blogs, podcasts, films, Instagram or Pinterest, take a look around and delve into whatever brings you joy.

    7. Be intentional about the content you consume

    But, and this is another tip from Jen Carrington, be selective and mindful when it comes to the information you allow into your life. It’s easy to get completely overwhelmed and for other people’s thoughts to drown out your own, or to get sucked into a lifestyle that just isn’t right for you, so only devote your attention to the resources that serve you best. Equally, if your sources of inspiration are routinely showing you things that drain or depress you, do something about it. Those Instagram accounts that make you feel bad about yourself or your life? Unfollow them. The business book you’ve been reading that just doesn’t fit with your way of thinking? Put it down. There will always be a more positive alternative, you just need to find what’s right for you.

    8. Set out your measures of success

    Whether it’s through a concrete achievement (such as reaching a financial goal or attending a specific event) or a less tangible feeling, it might be helpful to establish the parameters with which you intend to gauge your success. Just remember that the only person who should be doing any judging here is you!

    9. Don’t compare yourself to others

    This is another ‘easier said than done’ tip – especially when it can feel as though platforms such as Instagram are constantly showing us that anything we can do, someone else can do better. But it’s worth trying to remember that everyone has their own version of success, which means it’s fruitless to hold our lives in direct comparison to someone else’s when their goals and circumstances may be totally different. And don’t forget: most Instagram accounts only feature the highlights.

    10. Focus on what matters

    Above all, keep your values and personal priorities at the heart of everything you do. At every fork in the road, ask yourself if the choice you’re about to make will align with the way you want to live and the person you want to be. Because, after all, what’s the point of success if it doesn’t make us happy?

     

    Also listen to…

    • Jen Gale‘s Making Good podcast, episode 45: Dreaming Small.” This had me shouting out loud in delight to hear someone else in the world sharing my view that sometimes bigger isn’t always better. (Episode 33 is also great: it sees Jen and Johanne Moeller of Edventure discussing what it means to create “a livelihood that matters.”)

    • The #EthicalHour podcast, episode 11: “How to Have an Ethical Christmas.” Host Sian Conway interviews Abi Aldridge from Global Action Plan about the flawed traditional perception of success and the ways in which we can practice a more conscious approach to consumerism.

    • Sas Petherick‘s Courage & Spice podcast, episode 5: “Success and Self Doubt.” In this episode, Sas talks to the Insta-Queen herself, Sara Tasker, about what success looks and feels like to her.

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    6 comments
    Slow Success: 10 Helpful Tips

    • Laura McMahon says:

      Some fantastic tips here…will definitely be following up on your podcast recommendations, have already been listening to Sas Petherick, great to have a few new ones to delve into!

      • Maddy says:

        Thank you so much, Laura! I’m really glad you’ve found these suggestions useful 🙂 Podcasts are such great resources, aren’t they? x

    • Amy says:

      #7 is so important! This is a great list 🙂

      • Maddy says:

        Hi Amy! I think so too – it’s amazing how many things we just soak up without paying attention. I find being selective so helpful. x

    • Rowan says:

      Thank you for including so many links in this blog post! These were all really good ideas and I think I might spend the rest of the evening reading and listening to all the things you suggested!
      xo, Rowan | rowanmorrissy.com

      • Maddy says:

        You’re so welcome, Rowan, I’m really happy to hear you found this post helpful! I hope you enjoyed browsing through all the links – let me know what you thought of the resources! Maddy x