Your Success Checklist – Richard Brodie

Creating a Success Checklist gives you a straightforward way to improve your quality of life in any situation.

The first step  is to figure out what your fulfillment needs are. Because whatever your idea of success is, it’s going to be something that meets those needs.When you meet all your fulfillment needs, you feel confident, successful, and good about yourself; and you’re generally an enjoyable person to be around.

I’ve heard some people express the concern that all this focus on meeting your own fulfillment needs is being selfish. I understand the concern. But while some of your fulfillment needs may seem selfish, especially at first, other needs are most likely directly related to the contribution you’re making to others or to the world. And if you try, as many do, to deny yourself some of your needs and focus solely on the “altruistic” ones, you won’t have as much energy to put into your altruism.

If you consciously try to deny one of your fulfillment needs, most likely it will squirt out in some other form unconsciously. And if you’re truly “successful” and manage to get your unconscious not to meet that need either—well, then you’ll just feel bad. For many people, “successfully” denying a fulfillment need results in a sense of emptiness or lack of meaning in life.

If you’re ready, it’s time to get out your paper or laptop and write away. There is obviously no “right answer” to any of these questions and prompts; in fact, simply putting down whatever comes to mind will probably give you the most value from this exercise. But do hang in and take the time to search yourself a bit. Doing this exercise could take an hour or even several hours, so you may want to take steps to avoid being interrupted, although it’s fine not to do it all at once. Remember, the emphasis is on feelings and experiences. And be true!

— What do you want?

Let’s just start with the basics. Write down anything that you want in your life. These can be big or small things. Remember—just a few words on the thing, then as much as possible on the experience. Come up with at least ten things you want, and elaborate in great detail on the feelings and experiences you’re looking for.

— What have been the greatest successes of your life so far?

These are successes by your own judgment, not necessarily other people’s (although that’s fine, too). Start with the earliest success you can recall. If you can remember, write down the greatest success of each year of your life. Just include a few words about the event itself; then elaborate on your experience. How did you feel? What was it that made it feel like a success?

— What is it about other people that you admire?

Write down anything you see in other people that you admire. This can be personality traits, accomplishments, or anything else. What is it about the way they’re treated that you would like to have for yourself? What experiences do you see them having that seem attractive to you?

— What are some things you enjoy that don’t fit into the mainstream of life?

Write down activities that you go out of your way or off the beaten path to do, emphasizing, of course, what you like and how you feel about the experiences that go along with the activity.

— What are your most important values?

What ideals do you hold highest, honestly? Of notions such as honesty, wealth, love, integrity, passion, and beauty (but don’t limit yourself to those!), which are truly most important to you?

— What did you really enjoy doing as a kid at play?

Describe the feelings and experiences from some of your most joyous moments as a child playing. Just a few words on the physical description, but elaborate on the experience.

– Describe your ideal job

Go into detail about about how you would feel, what experiences you would have, and how you would be treated.

–  Describe your ideal relationship

Go into detail about how you would feel, what experiences you would have and what you would do.

The next step is for you to look back over this you’ve just made and identify the words an phrases that come up in more than one or two places. By looking at the set of feelings and experiences common to the things you want or have considered successes, you can begin to get conscious of the core set of experiences you personally require to have a “success.” So go ahead and make a new list of anything that stands out from the set of feelings and experiences you noticed when answering the above questions. Make your new list now.

This is an edited excerpt from Getting Past OK by Richard Brodie, available at all leading bookstores.

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