the desire map define success

How to Use The Desire Map to Define Success on Your Own Terms

Last February I had a life-changing epiphany about defining success for myself.

For a really long time, I believed that success involved being a professional, owning by own business, making six figures, having a family, and being able to balance everything with grace.

I’m really good at achieving goals, so I was a professional (twice over, actually, being both an accountant and a dentist) with my own business, married to an awesome guy, and mom of a boy and a girl (I’ve been told this is the “perfect” mix).

Making six figures? Nope. In fact, my business was struggling big time. Able to balance everything? Not really. I had a lot going for me, but the financial stress related to my business overshadowed everything else and made me feel completely unsuccessful.

Back to my epiphany…

Defining Success for Myself

I spent the first weekend of February 2016 at a Desire Map workshop hosted by my leadership coach, Jami Young. The Desire Map was not new to me, but I did end up with new Core Desired Feelings (free, ease, expansive, fired up, connected). I felt really good about these new words, but I still felt a lack of clarity around my definition of success.

So I asked Jami, “How do I go about defining success for myself?”

Jami looked at me, tilted her head slightly, and said in her amused and loving way, “You just did. Success is feeling the way you want to feel.”

Let me repeat that for you:


It seemed so simple, and so profound. And completely changed my life.

the desire map define success

Aligning My Life With My Idea of Success

Ever since then, I’ve been evaluating my life and I’ve found it out of alignment with my Core Desired Feelings.

My life isn’t set up for me to feel the way I want to feel. In fact, in many ways, it makes it really hard to feel my Core Desired Feelings. For example, I want to feel free. But I own a business that requires me to physically be there for it operate. To me, that’s the opposite of freedom.

So what does “free” look like to me? I dream of traveling and even living abroad for awhile with my kids, with lots of time to write, strategize, and grow.

While I know that I can choose to feel the way that I feel through other actions, I’ve been working really hard on defining what I want my life to look like, and I’ve been using my Core Desired Feelings to light the way.

To me, success still involves freedom in my business, financial security, spending time with my family, and developing myself in all areas of my life (not just work). But I feel like my definition is success is far more specific to me, and far less about living by what other people have suggested success is.

Have you struggled to define success for yourself? Share your experience in the comments below.

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