Celebrating Your Own Success

by | Sep 21, 2021

When it comes to thinking about values (which we’ve been doing all year long), we tend to stick to words that have a lot to do with emotions and relationships. They might include words like integrity, respect, connection, or freedom.

In a country like Canada, one of the many countries where Tall Poppy Syndrome likes to hang out, and for specific groups (often, women), it can be socially harmful to admit that both success and achievement are strong personal values. Being humble and self-effacing are personality traits that are drilled into many of us from the moment we are born. Hard work is its own reward, yada yada yada.

However, feeling accomplished and successful is truly thrilling for all of us. This can show up differently for each person. It may be through the achievement of something personally meaningful that engages one of your previously defined values, reaching an important milestone, or simply basking in the acclamation of your peers. Whatever success and achievement look like for YOU, your Spring Plans team is here for it.

If you’ve read our work for any length of time, you already know that we’re big on helping you achieve success…whatever that looks like for you. It’s a recurring theme with us, in part to counteract the insidious belief in some circles that your personal success is only as big as the pile of money you’re sitting on and, in part, because success and achievements are, frankly, awesome.

Defining Success

This is a huge part of the work that we love to do with you. Out there, in the world, there’s a lot of helpful advice about what your goals should be and what success looks like. A lot of these goals are financially motivated first, and while having lots of money is a great thing (like having all the best tools in your toolbox), it’s not an achievement in itself. It’s what you do with that money that matters.

People new to Spring Plans usually arrive with a few financial goals they want to chat about. These often include some pretty straightforward age- and life-stage-related activities:

  • Raising Children & Launching Them Into Adulthood
  • Building Wealth and Businesses
  • Achieving Financial Freedom / Retirement
  • Transitioning Wealth/Business/Values to the Next Generation
  • Selling a Business/Expanding a Business into Multiple Streams
  • Traveling Around the World (when that kind of thing is possible)
  • Expanding Knowledge/Education
  • Leaving a Legacy/Protecting Against Loss

What some people are surprised at is our frequent question for each one: Why?

Of course, the reasons might seem obvious. The thing is, though, that we can go about assuming things or applying our own set of values to your goals, or we can stop and ask questions about them.

Sometimes those questions are met with silence or consternation. We’re used to that.

The society we live in often hands us a bunch of goals and, being young and new to life, we often accept them wholeheartedly. What do we know about what we want? These should work, for now, we tell ourselves.

Then we get busy, working on all of these things, learning about ourselves, building and losing relationships, and navigating our way through the very complex system that is our lives.

We don’t often stop to contemplate the package of goals we’ve been handed to find out if we still want them, or if we still want them in the same way.

For example, you may decide, after many years of building towards home ownership and then maybe a cottage or rental property, that actually managing real estate is not your bag at all.

You may decide, after many years of growing in a vocation that you’re quite good at, that it doesn’t make you remotely happy.

You may decide, after many years of striving towards retirement, that you don’t even know what that means or if it’s any fun.

Your version of success and achievement may be a large departure from the standard-issue definition, or it might just be a subtle shift in nuance. Maybe you do like home ownership, but it’s a home that’s also a cottage and an office. Maybe you do like your vocation, but you want to try operating from a far-flung locale or coming at it from an entirely different angle. Maybe you do want to retire, but your version of retirement includes academic growth or even an entire second career.

What’s important for us – and even more important for YOU – is to get familiar with what success looks like for you.

Oh, and that it’ll probably change over time.

Achieving Success

The thing about success is that it involves milestones that we create for a reason. It’s a chance to stop and look around, a chance to think about the next milestone, and if it’s in the right place for us, now that we have arrived and can see who we’ve become in the process. Maybe the next marker needs to move slightly to the left, out a few more feet, or be thrown out and replaced entirely.

There’s no point in the future where you’re completely done growing. The person you are, the relationships you have, and the life you live, change all the time. That’s not just normal – that’s how we know we’re growing and living!

The best thing we can do is map out how we think we’re going to get to the next couple of goals and build in reflection time when every one of them is achieved. You’re never getting it wrong – you’re getting it more and more “right” every time.

The values of success and achievement are not finite. They’re continuous, like all values that are meaningful to you. Celebration and reflection are key components of exercising that value… regularly, as is (of course) planning.

Your Life, Well Spent

Yup, that’s the Spring Plans tagline, and we mean it. Your life is what you’re building every day, and we want you to really enjoy how you’ve spent it. This means defining your own values, whatever they look like, and the way you want to achieve them. From there, we can use the handy financial tools we have around us – our cash flow, investment portfolios, real estate, businesses, and so much more – to put that plan into action.

No matter what success means to you personally, if you thrive on reaching milestones, being useful, and even – gasp! – being recognized for your success, you’re not even a little bit alone. Let’s put that Tall Poppy Syndrome to rest (it wasn’t helping anyone) and start building a meaningful life.

Julia Chung
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