Is the pursuit of ‘success’ making you unwell?

We should all have a very clear image in our minds of what success looks like. COVID certainly changed this image for many people, when given the time to reflect and go deeper within to think about what this term ‘success’ actually means. Historically, the common associations with the term success were:

  • Income/Revenue: How much money do you earn.
  • Assets: I use this term loosely as I am referring to things like house size/location, cars, boats etc.
  • Job title: Are you a CEO, Director, Partner, Managing Director, Vice President, President etc.
  • Social media status: How many followers, Likes, Subscribers do you have.
  • The additional things: Where you children go to school, the clothing brands you wear.

But what did it really indicate? What did it really mean. Well, here is something to think about:

  • One of Adelaide’s most prestigious all boys’ schools has 60% of their student’s school fees being paid by grandparents.
  • Having worked inside of a big four Australian bank, be very clear that many luxury homes and vehicles are heavily owned via debt (or leasing of the vehicle).
  • One of the most successful and happiest doctors I ever met drove a Toyota Camry. Instead choosing to invest the money that could be spent on a fancier car, on family holidays to create memories and have experiences.
  • Of a person’s followers on social media, how many are genuine vs have been purchased or obtained via an outsourcing business.

Now before I receive a barrage of comments, I acknowledge this is not always the case. YES! I am simply asking you to not judge a book by it’s cover. Things may not appear to be as they seem once you peel back the layers of the onion. Making a judgement of a person based on the ‘successes’ noted above can be dangerous. This is where the ‘keeping up with the Jones’’ expression comes from. I spent the better part of 20 years in a world where money was often the largest ‘indicator’ of success. DANGER!!!! Unless you are a trust fund baby or win the lottery, there is a need for a level of personal exertion to generate wealth/success.

To attain any idea or form of ‘success’, there are sacrifices that often need to be made. The ‘bigger the success’, the bigger the sacrifices (typically). Example:

  • Want to buy a $3,000,000 home? Unless you have the cash available, you will likely need to borrow (based on 20% deposit) around $2,400,000. Using a simple online calculator, this tells us that your monthly repayments are $15,710 which equates to $188,520 a year (after tax). Approximately $350,000 you need to earn before tax.
  • Want the latest $165,000 Mercedes to sit in the garage?  So many variables here, but, if you borrow $120,000 this equates to a loan repayment over 5 years of $2,400 per month, or $28,800 per year (after tax). Approximately another $50,000 a year in earnings to cover it.

You can see where I am going here. The stress and pressure for most people to live a life in excess to their financial means, can be incredibly expensive. Now yes, I am taking it to extremes here, but unfortunately these stories are not uncommon. I have met so many people that define ‘success’ by the things noted above…and…the bigger, more expensive, more lavish those things, the more successful they must be.

To chase any idea of success, sacrifices must be made. Most common sacrifices people make (and must choose the weighting toward each option):


– Relationships

– Friendships

– Nutrition

– Movement/Exercise

They sacrifice their sleep to work more. They spend less time with friends and family to hustle and grind to earn more income. They skip meals, eat on the go, choose convenience over quality and experience. They make no time for movement as it detracts away from their ability to work or run the business. What results more often than not, is a person that is exhausted, stressed, lonely, malnourished (or experiences regular sickness) and is lacking energy, strength, focus and drive (both professional, personal & sexual).

I ask you….is it worth it?

So, what do you need to do?

  1. Take time to stop and reflect. What does success truly look like to you. Be crystal clear.
  2. Attach a ‘why’ to that image. You must be able to articulate WHY this idea of success is so important and meaningful to you. Let me clarify, there is no ‘wrong’ idea of success as long as it means something to you. Your success is your success.
  3. Be very clear on the commitment needed and the possible sacrifices to be made, in order to achieve this idea of success.
  4. Speak to people (where possible), that emulate your idea of success. How did they do it? What are their regrets or advice.
  5. Understand your Values & Passions. Explore something like the Barrett Values Assessment to gain deeper insight into your true Values. Our Values are a guiding set of beliefs that influence our actions.
  6. Put together a Vison Board. This is a digital representation of your idea of success. Make it your computer desktop and look at it every day. This is your end goal!

So, is success making you unwell? Yes! If you are pursuing something that is ultimately meaningless. Involves significant sacrifice of things that you either value more, or, that support your health, wellbeing, mindset and relationships. Success that has no ‘why’ or emotional attachment comes with no happiness, joy or reward, just stress and poor health.


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I’ll guide you on the journey to becoming the happiest, healthiest and best version of yourself.

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