Good Humans v. Successful People

Earlier this week in a yoga class, my instructor, Ariel Mann, brought up the idea of putting our primary focus on being a good human versus on being a successful person. The insight goes that when we consciously prioritize and choose the actions of being a good human, success follows in all its forms (connection, abundance, thriving health, etc…). Yet when we prioritize being a “successful person,” which too often in our society gets defined in external, financial and material ways, the benefits quickly run thin.

This framework of the “good human vs. successful person” has stayed with me all week. A few days later, I was in a conversation with two of the top realtors in Jackson Hole, as they discussed the concept of collaboration and teamwork in what has typically been a very competitively driven industry. They reinforced that decisions that focus on honestly, collaboration and integrity win if you want to build a sustainable long-term business (and their results show it). The clothing manufacturer, Patagonia, lives by its values more deeply than most other companies, and again external success does continue to follow. When we do good, good things follow – in abundance, leadership, wellness and connection.

Then it begs the questions, what does it mean to be a good human? That is the internal work for each of us. What values do we want to live by? What gifts can we each bring to the world? How do we want to be remembered?

It is the daily practice of connecting to those questions and allowing the awareness and answers to emerge that can bring about a profound shift in how we walk in the world. The shift comes in the quiet, small steps and choices we make every day. It is the pause before action that reminds us about our connection to our definition of being a good human. It’s like creating our own internal six-pack abs for how we want to live. Six-packs and a strong core come with daily exercise and practice. Some days we feel great about the practice and some days, not so much, but we keep practicing. It is the same with clarifying our values and deeply living by them– from our heart, not just our head.

Honesty (to self and others), integrity, reliability, compassion, connection, responsibility, doing our best, courage, kindness, resilience, authenticity, grit and most of all love (to self and others) are some of the values often used to define being a good human.

So, pick a value. Take a few minutes every morning this week just to breathe it in. Then write down an intention around it along with a gratitude for someone, something or just an internal lesson in service to our humanness. Observe what happens. Together we can create a thriving, sustainable world inside and out – and success will follow naturally.

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