Are you one handshake away from success?
I remember a particular careers fair I attended years ago. Students milled through the hall, smartly dressed and eager to make an impression on potential employers. Small talk, FAQS, CV and business card swaps – this is what I expected. What I hadn’t factored was the Handshake Hunters.
You know, the shovers and pushers making their way through the small crowd of what appears to be jazz-hands (aka unevolved Handshake Hunters) so they can greet a company rep who will get them one step closer to the dream job (by telling them to apply through the website, but that’s another story)?
I get it. That’s what the event is for. You have to Do What It Takes To Stand Out, even if it means literally stepping on a few toes to get there. Hustle. Grind. Dream. Goals. Hotels? Trivago.
Ok, so now I’m just naming things, but the point is there’s an element of doing the work to achieve an aim – to succeed. And the Hunters, they’re just doing what the task demands. They’re competing. It’s a hand-shake-hand world after all. But strip away the heightened expectation and dynamics of the careers hall, step away for a few moments and success can take a different shape.
That evening has stayed with me since. I don’t want my version of success in life to resemble a frenzied hunt for something, even if that something is good. It’s only recently I’ve carved out a definition of success that works for me, and if I’m moving in a sense of joy, peace and purpose then I am successful.
Joy, because even if challenges arise, there’s a resolute firmness to put things in perspective and find the goodness in each day, even if it’s in something seemingly small.
Peace, because a mind at rest is one that can thrive in fullness.
Purpose, because it demands that I move in a direction that is fuelled by who I am and the reason I was created.
Achievement without any one of these qualities rings hollow to me. The rush of unlocking an achievement is temporary, but what came before and what comes after is the tangible work. It’s no longer just about the handshake, but the character and experience that’s been built towards that kairos moment, and how you will develop in the moments after. Operating in these dimensions is bringing the best of yourself to a situation, bringing the best of yourself to life.
What’s your definition of success, and how did you come to your conclusion?