We’re conditioned to rely on others to determine our success. As children (and maybe even as adults) our parents told us if we were doing a good job or not. Our teachers graded us on our work as well as our verbal participation and behavior. Our bosses give us promotions or raises based on how well we please them. It’s no wonder then that moms so often look outside themselves for assurance that they’re successful in parenting.
As a mom, this often means I won’t know if I’ve been successful—if I’ve been a good mom—until my kids are grown and I can see how they’ve turned out. Or, I know I’m successful if my child is happy. Or, I know I’ve done a good job if my kid communicates well with me.
In each instance we rely on the thoughts, feelings, or actions of our children to determine our success.
What does that make you feel?
Heavy, I bet. Stressed, worried, maybe even hopeless.
It’s also a lot to hang on another person—to place your success, or lack thereof, on their shoulders. Especially if that person is, say, a young child.
Sometimes we are thermometers. Just like the mercury rising or falling with the temperature, our emotions, energy level, and actions fluctuate based on what’s going on around us.
Sometimes we are thermostats. As such, we maintain our center—we set the temperature—no matter what’s going on around us.
When we are thermostats we can preserve a peaceful, positive presence regardless of our external circumstances. In this state we do not react to what’s going on around us; rather we respond to it. We chose our state instead of having it chosen for us. We control our experience of life.
Instead of defining success based on others’ thoughts, feelings, or actions, you can be the one who decides if you’re successful or not, if you’re a good mom or not. You can do this by going with what you can control—you! You can be the thermostat and make this the basis by which you determine your success.
For example, if my thermostat is set to feeling good then I know I’m being successful. What does feeling good entail? For me, it means feeling connected to my kids, light, happy, joyful, peaceful, free, inspired, excited, creative, excited about life, thrilled to see my kids, curious, open, relaxed, compassionate, and like I’m growing into myself more and more everyday. (Basically, it’s a recipe for success as a human being.)
Bruce D. Schneider, founder of iPEC Coaching says, “True success lies not in just being yourself, nor in doing the best you can, but in knowing the two are the same.”
The best you can do for your kids is to be yourself. Your true self. And your true self feels good. She’s the one who lives beneath the beliefs about what you should, shouldn’t, can’t, or won’t be able to do. The one beneath the voice that says you aren’t good enough or that you’re unlovable. The one beneath all the crap. So set your thermostat to that—to her.
The more you live authentically the better you feel. The better you feel, the better you know you’re showing up for your kids.
As the thermostat we have the ability to not only maintain our own setting but influence the thermometers around us—our children.
So program your thermostat to authenticity and feeling good, and model those for your kids. Then you’re being successful.