Trailer: For the Love of Giving
If you are a giver, the world is a better place because of you. You regularly use your natural inclinations, talents, and efforts to leave the world a better place than you found it. However, some givers find it difficult to make their needs known, be assertive, or promote themselves. In this situation, being a giver can feel like more of a curse than a blessing.
If you can relate to anything that was just said, then this is a podcast for you! We invite you to make this podcast with Tara Rae Bradford part of your journey toward a more holistic version of a successful you. On each episode, Tara will share research, advice, and wisdom gained from years of experience in the helping professions to help you achieve the level of success you desire.
On this episode you’ll hear:
Why givers get stuck
Secrets of successful givers
Tara’s journey that led her to create this podcast
The mission of this podcast
If you’re a generous person looking for new ways to make your natural strengths work for you, then this is one episode you won’t want to miss.
This Episode’s Transcription
1. How does society define success? What’s the trouble with this definition? - Discuss success as feelings here.
The dictionary defines success as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.”
The definition is clear and concise. The interpretation of it by society is where we run into trouble.
The problem is: we aren’t taught how to choose our own definitions of success. When I was a kid I was given the definition and it wasn’t really presented as a choice.
My parents said: you will get good grades, graduate from high school, go to college, get a good job, buy your own car and house, and save for retirement.
That was success.
In my mind I felt like success was a little more flashy and exciting than all of that. I envisioned this pot of gold at the end of the rainbow where the rainbow was the job, the car, the paycheck, and all the things.
While our parents mean WELL when they tell us to do these things and getting a job and being self-sufficient as an adult mean that my parents successfully raised me to be part of society – I didn’t feel successful, and a lot of my clients who have achieved similar things don’t feel successful either.
This happens all the time with our role models. We adopt their behaviors that we think make them successful in our eyes and we buy the things or achieve the goals that they have achieved because we admire them – but we don’t feel successful for 2 reasons:
Number 1: Success is not a feeling, it’s an accomplishment. Feelings are internal. Accomplishments are external.
Number 2: We didn’t define what the purpose of those achievements were when we set out to do them. It was because someone else told us to do it or someone else we admired did them and unless we are following in the footsteps of someone who has the exact same purpose as us then we aren’t going to feel anything.
2. When you’re off track, chasing this definition of success, what problems does that cause you, personally or professionally?
Chasing the feeling of success outside of yourself makes you feel like you aren’t good enough.
You miss the moments that are happening around you because you are focusing on crossing the finish line or getting to the top of the mountain.
Let me tell you about a client of mine, we will call him Rich. When Rich came to me he had made partner at the firm he was working at, he was working twice as hard and his salary was not increasing as quickly as his workload was. Rich was also married and had a young son at home and he didn’t want to be an absent parent so he was racing home after work to spend time with his son before bedtime and then staying up until midnight to do more work from home. The problem was, he wasn’t really present with his son because he was already thinking about his ‘to do’ list and how long he was going to have to stay awake to do everything before the next day. He was burning himself out and setting himself up to fail. He also felt guilty if he missed work to go to his son’s birthday party, and would’ve felt guilty missing his son’s birthday party because of work. He was in a lose-lose situation. Even though he was at the top of his career path and had checked all the “success boxes”. The guilt is blocking the feeling of success.
Professionally, when I work with clients who want to feel successful, it looks a little bit different. Let me tell you about Claire. When Claire came to me she had an MBA, she had hit 6-figures in her business all by herself, she had been featured in the media a few times, she had also written a book…When I asked her what she hoped to accomplish during our time working together she said, “I want to feel successful.” After our first few sessions she told me she had the opportunity to meet with someone she really admired. She said that person asked her, “How can I help you?” and she didn’t know how to answer the question (even though this person would have been a dream client for her) so she cheered her idol on and said, “Keep inspiring people with the incredible work you’re doing!” This could have been a big opportunity, but she deflected it because her unconscious mind was telling her she wasn’t good enough.
3. What is your definition of success? How does it make an improvement on our lives when we live according to this definition?
In my own life I like to look at success and failure as one in the same. They are both achievements. Failures are the achievements that we learn from or that steer us away from danger – sort of like pulling your hand away from a hot stove when you don’t realize it’s on. Successes are the achievements we also learn from and can lean into and do more of these things. They are just a road map to tell us if we are going the right way for us and to teach us how to keep moving forward.
One of the things I do with my clients is have them look at their biggest win and their biggest loss in the last week. What we often find is that both of those things are teaching them the same lessons from different perspectives. Think of them as the bumpers in the gutter of the bowling alley and you’re the bowling ball trying to go down the middle of the lane towards the pins. Success on one side, Failure on the other side and you’re bouncing back and forth between them as you make your way down the lane.
Seeing success and failure as roadmaps for the direction we are headed removes some of the emotional charge behind what it means or what it says about us as individuals. It removes the judgment. Instead it’s more of a GPS. When you’re listening to your GPS tell you which way to go, it doesn’t say “I didn’t’ say turn left, I said turn right! You’re a horrible driver!” It patiently says, “Rerouting, when possible please make a legal U-Turn.”
4. Why is it that we don’t always feel successful after we achieve success?
Going back to the definition of success: it really is just the achievement, not the feeling.
The feeling that accompanies success is: fulfillment.
Fulfillment is defined as: the satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s abilities or character.
We are focused on the wrong thing. When we attach a meaning or purpose to our achievement then we are more likely to feel fulfilled, but only if that meaning or purpose is meaningful to us – not our parents, not our role models, not our teachers.
5. How can we move beyond our feelings and live into this new definition of success?
The first thing you can do is give yourself permission to define success however YOU want to define it – no fear of what other people will think, no judgment of not being enough.
I’ll leave you with this one question: “If you could have, do or become anything in the world in the next 90 days, and you knew you couldn’t fail, what would it be?”