A New Definition of Career Success - Intentional Travelers

19 Sep A New Definition of Career Success

This post is contributed by our fellow intentional travelers, Dorene and Troy, an Ex-Marketing Executive and TV Editor couple from Canada. They’re redefining their mid-life by lifestyle redesign and full-time transformative travel. They help people who feel stuck and uninspired to make meaningful, conscious change in their life, work and travel at Travel Life Experiences


Leaving the corporate world after 20 years was the most frightening challenge I faced nearly three years ago. It was like starting a career all over again – except I was in my 40s, and I was still full of life and vitality but a little cynical and scared to death to recreate a new ‘career life’ all over again in an unfamiliar new world.

Because I Lost Perspective on Life.

I had built up my credentials and had career happiness, but it wasn’t life happiness.

My years in the corporate world made it impossible for me to find both, because of my definition of success.

My Old Version of Success

Success was hardwired into my DNA thanks to my father’s philosophy. Dad was tough and hard. He had strong views about education, hard work and career future- go to school, work hard, get great marks, go to university, get a good job and work hard to progress and get promoted to a longstanding career.

That hard work gave me praise and approval from my hard-to-please-father and created my path of obsessive, unhealthy work ethic-  all for the goal to conquer an enormous standard I created for myself, fueled by my intense need for recognition. The corporate world rewarded me often with my loyalty and devotion. It led to promotions, money and my staff and colleagues depending on me for my advice.

That constant need for approval led to a growing darkness inside of me, and I ignored it because I wasn’t happy with me; my self-worth was non-existent.

When I lost my job, it was a difficult time, but what if I chose to think about the situation differently? What if I could start over? Learn from the past, and look forward to a new, right-sized future that better suited me?

My New Version of Success

I made choices that led to that unhealthy and unhappy life. But now happiness is unconditional LIFE Success. With life and work more balanced.

How did I create change in myself?

It came with a shift in perspective, and my shift was immense. I changed my job, my skills, I became an entrepreneur, I changed my surroundings, and made new meaningful connections with new friends who were also seeking change. I traveled more often, something I didn’t find enough time to do.  Of course, there were painful times, questioning my abilities, challenging what I defined as ‘normal.’ It wasn’t easy. But the change resulted in a brilliant outcome.

That new confidence led me to start two businesses with my husband, Troy. Building our future, we’re now traveling for work and for life with our website Travel Life Experiences, helping other ex-corporates to discover life beyond the traditional career. Happiness for me started with shifting to a new perspective of what was possible.

My Key Tips for Modeling Your Career Success:

  1. Life REALLY is too short

The adage “life is too short” is so damn true. There is nothing that will get your perspective on what matters more clear than internalizing your inevitable mortality. Think of the number of friends, family, acquaintances whose lives were changed or sadly ended before they could do something that they loved. It is possible for anyone. With that morbid thought on your mind, would you look at career and happiness in your life differently?

  1. Fill your morning with gratitude for YOU

This may feel uncomfortable at first, but wake up and tell yourself how amazing you are, unconditionally. What are you grateful for in your life? The small things each day can add up to an overall new perspective on what makes you happy. Try using the 5-minute journal – using gratitude each day to increase happiness is science, and it works. If you don’t love yourself or find ways to motivate yourself, how can you possibly find a life you love?

  1. Evaluate what your job/career is giving you

Be selfish. Too many times, I’ve heard colleagues say they stay in a job because they like the people there (but not the work), or the company is short-staffed, so they can’t leave. A job should give you career and life skills that pave the way to a fulfilling life, and you NEED to love doing it.

  1. Change jobs often

Don’t ever let an HR professional or recruiter tell you that you’ve moved around too much from job to job. That is nonsense, and it’s outdated thinking. My best employees were people who strategically chose jobs, they stayed in them for a couple of years (sometimes less) and learned new skills. When their learning diminished, they moved onto a new job. They also weren’t afraid to take a pay cut, or take freelance, consulting or startup gigs to learn something new. What is the best way to counteract a recruiting manager’s concerns about moving around from job to job? Tell them about how you benefited from the moves, and how these moves accelerated your skills, with references to confirm your great work.

  1. Change your environment to change your perspective

Remember how great you felt after your last vacation and how that changed your perspective on life? How can you integrate that more into your life? Have you tried working away from your office? It’s surprising how it clears your head and rebalances your priorities. And you get a pile of stuff done.

  1. Be open to meet new people who share your values

Troy and I would NEVER have sold everything we owned, started to build a business online while traveling long-term, if it weren’t for meeting new people that inspired and encouraged us. There are so many resources online for meet-ups of individuals wanting to make changes in their lives.  Our favorite group is Live Your Legend. It’s just an amazing group of people, looking to find a career they love, they host regular meetups to connect, share and inspire.

So, career success is a myth if it doesn’t compliment your whole life and make you happy.  What is your view of career success? Are you living it? Wed love to hear about it.

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