Are you chasing the wrong goal?

If you ask most people what they are striving for, they’ll probably answer “success.”

If you look around at most personal or business development programs, what are they selling – most are selling “success.”

I’d like to suggest that success is not the goal. And that if you’re chasing success, you’re likely to be disappointed.

And you’re probably missing out on life, because everything is about getting to some point in the future when you WILL be successful (read: happy).

Think about it for a moment.

What is it you think you’ll be, do, or have, ONCE you are successful?

The problem with chasing success – chasing anything – is that usually what we chase eludes us. Just like my dog Cheyenne runs farther away when we chase her after she has escaped the confines of our home or yard. And we get frustrated because we can’t catch her. Yet, when we just let her go “experience her freedom” she usually returns home within minutes.

Chasing doesn’t work.

Secondly, I’d argue that success is NOT what you’re really after. Success in and of itself does not bring happiness. Especially if you are not enjoying the journey. Because after all, life is about the journey, not the destination, and success is almost always a destination. And when and if you “reach” it, you usually want more, so it’s a never-ending chase.

I’d like to suggest a few alternatives to success as the goal:



Adding Value

Expressing Yourself Fully



Fulfilling Your Purpose

Enjoying Life

You’ll notice a common thread among all of these goals – they’re all about being present.

And magical things happen when you can learn to be present and just enjoy the moment. You get inspired ideas. You really serve people. Ironically, you become successful.

About Debbie

Debbie worked in marketing for 32 years and ran a successful coaching and consulting business for 19. She now teaches marketing and helps people find greater happiness and success by learning how to Follow Inspiration.

8 comments on “Are you chasing the wrong goal?

  1. Right on, Debbie! I can choose to be happy right now, by what I focus on…this helps me check in and remember, once again. Thanks! So glad to be sharing the path with you!

  2. Debbie,
    I would add another descriptive to the list – contentment. In knowing that I did the best job I could at that given moment and that when “I meet success” it means I have connected with another human and helped them in some way – my contentment meter will have gone off the top range!

  3. So true Shayla!

    Scout – Good for you! I love that you are consciously choosing to be happy right now. It’s so sad when I talk to people who are so focused on the future that they are miserable in the process of getting to where they’re going. I’ve done that in the past, so I know how frustrating it can be.

    Bonnie – Contentment is a good one. It’s right in there with Satisfaction. With both you feel good about where you are and what you’re doing. And it’s not about where you’re going but rather where you are right now. Love it!

    Thanks for chiming in ladies!

  4. Debbie – I love this and something I’m experiencing right now! As a start-up entrepreneur I’m learning to live in the moment and enjoy the journey. I believe that I am fulfilling my purpose and the rest will follow. I still have my goals and action steps that I need to take in order to grow my business, however I do it from a different state of mind now – it really is about being authentic, pursuing my passion and helping others along the way. I’m so glad you wrote this as it just confirms my recent thinking!! Thanks Debbie!

  5. The past few months I’ve been opening my eyes to the fact that I have succeeded at many things in my life and have been very blessed. That I need to actually spend time enjoying them and be content, be still in the moment.

    I’ve pushed so long for that “success” circle I didn’t truly notice when I was in it because I automatically was looking for the next “thing” I “should” be doing (so I thought). I now see the next “thing” is to simply ENJOY IT and be at PEACE!

    I’ve been working on my vision board/word for 2011 and have specifically not included in business related type items, etc. My only true goal for this year is ACCEPTANCE!

    I want to accept where I am in my journey with my family, my career goals, myself, and spiritually. And as for the rest… LET IT GO! (as you would say)

  6. It must be the “theme of the day”.

    I was listening to the CD that comes with Success magazine ( and they were interviewing Shawn Achor speaking on “the happiness advantage”. His research proves that success does not result in happiness, in fact it is the other way around, happiness begets success.

    I think his book will be my next read.

    Thanks Debbie, I love the suggestions to help us focus on being happy now (because ‘NOW’ is all we really have) which will bring us success later.

  7. Thanks so much for sharing your personal experiences. I’m glad I could serve as a good reminder, and that you’re already focused on this – that in and of itself is something to celebrate!

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