Soul Success, Part 1: Define success on your terms

By on July 4, 2013

The biggest challenge with achieving success is that it is defined in reference to the traditional status quo. The assumption is that when you have the good job, the house, the car, the husband or wife and the 2.5 kids, the healthy retirement savings account, and the nice clothes and vacations, you will be happy. Unfortunately this assumption is far from true. The high rate of midlife crises experienced by people who “have it all”, yet are nagged by a chronic sense that something is missing from their lives is a testament to this.

One of the biggest blessings of the five years I spent living in Japan was that it gave me the opportunity to be a misfit. I was clearly not Japanese and so did not feel the pressure to fit in with their cultural rules and expectations. I was also far from home and so no longer felt the pressure to fit in with my own culture’s definitions of success. This allowed me the freedom to experiment with new ways of doing and being, reinvent myself on a daily basis if I felt like it, and entertain new ideas of what a successful and fulfilling life would look like for me. Through this journey, I came to understand that success is something each of us must define individually, and that external, material measures are a small part of the equation when it comes to designing a life that is successful in providing the vitality, meaning and abundance we all desire.

The first step in achieving lasting and fulfilling success requires that we redefine it on new terms. This starts with providing a new term – soulful success. Soulful Success is the state of abundance, aliveness, confidence and contentment that results when a person trusts in their capacity to identify and achieve goals that are intrinsically meaningful to them. Soulful Success does not necessarily mean that you have “arrived” in the traditional sense. It is characterized by the desire to continue growing, learning, achieving, and actualizing your potential in ways that are personally fulfilling – regardless of whether these achievements are recognized or valued by external forces. The following six “Ps” are key contributors
to Soulful Success:

Passion: You are doing something that you love. Ideally this is part of what you are paid for, but it should not be limited to your career. Soulful success is characterized by the ability to follow your passions both inside and outside of work.

Purpose: You know why you are here and how you make a difference. Your work and life have purpose beyond just making money and surviving. You know that your life and work make the world a better place in ways that are meaningful to you – even if they are not recognized as significant by others.

Prosperity: You experience genuine prosperity because you have defined your state of “enoughness”. You understand that the pursuit of money for its own sake can create scarcity rather than abundance. You understand how much money you need to live according to your values and passions and resist the temptation to live outside of your means, while still aspiring to increase your financial abundance (if that is what you desire).

Potential: You understand that fame is a poor measure of whether or not you are fulfilling your potential as it forces you to compare and compete with others. Not everyone who fulfills their potential gets external fame and recognition. The brilliant computer programmer who pushes the boundaries of their own abilities is fulfilling their potential as much as (possibly more than) the famous entrepreneur who lucked into the right business idea at the right time. The key to fulfilling your potential is to constantly challenge yourself to grow, learn and break out of your comfort zone.

Present: Soulful Success requires cultivating the capacity to stay in the moment and be grateful for all that you have instead of always longing for more. Many of the most successful people in worldly terms are consumed by feelings of inadequacy and driven into overwork and overwhelm because they cannot recognize their accomplishments or be content with the abundance they already have.

Process: Above all, achieving soulful success requires the ability to embrace success as an ongoing process, not a destination that can be reached. Contrary to popular belief, research shows that true fulfillment comes in the striving for something, not in its realization. The more that we can come to understand that, when it comes to success, the journey truly is the goal, the more likely we are to experience the fulfillment and happiness we are longing for in the pursuit of material achievements.

This month, take some time to step back and re-define success on your own terms. Use the above as guidelines for areas where you can begin to make mental shifts that will support Soulful Success – the space where internal fulfillment meets external accomplishment.

(This is the first in a multi-part series of excerpts based on my free report on Soulful Success. If you just can’t wait for the next issue of Tokyo Families Magazine, you can download the full report for free now at

Andrea Jacques, founder of Kyosei Consulting International, has spent more than 20 years developing the potential of individuals and organizations worldwide. Five of these years were spent in Japan where the core philosophies of her work on the relationship between passion, performance, and process took shape. A dynamic speaker, coach, and facilitator, her work integrates leading eastern and western thought with top-tier leadership, engagement, wellness and sustainability consulting to build the capacity of people and business to thrive. Her clients represent a diverse cross-section of industries including banking, retail, government, insurance, academia and high-tech. She can be contacted through her website.

About Andrea Jacques

Andrea Jacques is the founder of Kyosei Consulting and the author of Wabi-Sabi Wisdom: Inspiration for an Authentic Life (available on She has spent more than 20 years developing the potential of people and businesses worldwide, five of which were in Japan. A dynamic speaker, coach, and facilitator, her work integrates spiritual insight with top-tier leadership, wellness and sustainability consulting to help individuals and organizations build thriving, purpose-driven cultures where employees know their work truly matters. She can be contacted through her website at