Internal Verses External Success

Often in our lives we do things for external praise. Maybe its doing a degree because your parents wanted you to. Maybe its playing sport in school because your brothers were. Maybe its getting that promotion at work for the extra title on your business card so you can know say you are “Chief Officer Of Business Growth And Development”. Maybe its even the horse you are purchasing by a certain stallion so you can tell your peers who your horse is by. All of these things are great by the way if they are what you really want, but are you doing them for internal or external praise?

Let me explain, by external I mean an achievement that garners admiration or acknowledgement from external sources but doesn’t necessarily offer the internal fulfillment that we truly crave.

When I was at high school I played netball, basketball and even rugby, but when I went home from school at the end of the day my greatest moments were spent with my horse wasting away the afternoon. I grew up in a very small school so it was common for the students to participate in different sports. Didn’t mean I was great at them all. I was just doing it. It was something I did because it was what my friends did.

I got to do lots of traveling around NZ with netball and even rugby (I know right….rugby!!) but the traveling I loved the most was again with my horse. I am so grateful for the experiences and skills that these sports have given me and I wouldn’t change a thing. I also think it is great to participate in high school in a little bit of everything to find out what you do and don’t like. Each sport I participated in had varying levels of gratification, but nothing that truly rocked my world. So if I was truthful with myself it was external gratification at that time. The participating in all these sports feels great but it didn’t make me love the daily grind of doing everything and where the internal gratification came was when I was on my horses back down the bottom of the farm letting time slip away.

To some degree there are going to be both external and internal successes in our lives no matter what age, but what truly matters and what is going to really help you succeed is understanding and prioritizing your internal success.

As we grow up and get more priorities in life like creating an income, feeding a family and building a career path our internal success can get lost and we can continue to search for those external praise and lose the courage to focus on doing what makes our hearts sing.

You see its about creating success that is personal to you and that provides you with the satisfaction and fulfillment that you aspire to in life; success that is not driven by external praise or acknowledgement but comes from a place within.

So don’t trot down a centre line to achieve external praise from your peers. Trot down the centre line because it brings a smile to your face and because you know it is a stepping stone on your journey doing what you truly love to do. You see external motivations like fleeting praise or admiration, can be taken away at any moment. But doing what you love is an experience to treasure every step of the way.

So take a look at your life and consider how many of your successes have been external and which ones have truly come from within.

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