Authentic Achievements: How to find Success From Within

Written by Arno Jansen
In this guide, I’m going to teach you how you can reflect on your self-starter journey as the year comes to a close. It helps you find success from within, because by the end of this process, you’ll have a clear understanding of your motivation and well-being.
 
Have you heard of Self-Determination Theory, or SDT?
 
It is a widely recognized framework for understanding motivation, behaviour and well-being. It states that there are 3 psychological needs that drive our behaviour and the satisfaction we get from that.
 
These needs are:
  1. Autonomy: The need to feel in control of your actions and choices.
  2. Competence: The need to feel capable and effective in your work and interactions with the world.
  3. Relatedness: The need to feel connected to others, to experience a sense of belonging and identity.
 
Choosing to be your own boss, and making your own decisions also means taking time to think about yourself. Taking control of the balancing act between your job, family, and personal goals is very tough, but it helps you feel in control and confident. It boosts your intrinsic motivation and is an important step towards defining success from within your own values.
 
As you approach the end of the year, take a moment to check and recalibrate your direction for the year ahead. Self-reflection can be a beacon of hope and stability amidst the realities that come with building a business or while juggling multiple roles. It guides you toward understanding what makes you feel good or stressed and how to improve on it.
 
Unfortunately, many people don’t take the time to reflect. The main reasons moments of self-reflection are often ignored or avoided are:
 

Fear of Slowing Down

 
In the world of solopreneurs and side-hustlers, the fear of slowing down can be overwhelming. The constant pressure to keep the wheels turning often results in a reluctance to pause and take stock.

The Illusion of Constant Progress

Thinking that success always means constantly moving forward is a mistake many people make. Staying busy might feel like you’re getting somewhere, but it’s not the same as true progress. Take a moment to think carefully about your situation and where you’re giong.
 

Overemphasis on External Validation

In a world that often measures success by external achievements, the intrinsic value of the work can be overshadowed. Seeking validation from others may lead to neglecting personal satisfaction.
 

Isolation and Lack of Community

We are always navigating the delicate balance between work, family and our other responsibilities. And working alone can make you feel isolated. Without a supportive community, it’s challenging to share experiences and insights. Sharing your experiences and hearing other people’s experiences, makes it easier to reflect on your own situation.
 

Fear of Uncomfortable Realizations

Facing things you need to get better at can feel scary. Being afraid to admit you need to change might stop you from using reflection to grow.
 

Overcoming these obstacles, step by step

If you recognise any of these in yourself, don’t worry! You can overcome these obstacles and make reflection a powerful tool for your self-starter journey. Here’s how, step by step:
 

Step 1: Evaluate Your Autonomy – Steering Your Ship

We want complete autonomy, but that’s often an illusion. Even though we can pick our projects, the weight of decisions and the pressure to succeed can feel overwhelming. This can lead to a false sense of control when you’re building a business. Real control is about making your work fit or match what you love and believe in, not just about having the final say.
 
Examples:
  • A solopreneur who takes on projects purely for financial gain, losing the joy in their work.
  • An artist feeling pressured to conform to market trends instead of pursuing their unique passion project.
 
Understanding autonomy in the context of self-starter life involves reclaiming authentic control. It means aligning your work choices with your values and passions, ensuring that each project brings both financial gain and genuine satisfaction and fulfillment.
 

Step 2: Assess Your Competence – Conquering the Peaks

 
Our path usually means handling many jobs at once. Becoming better at something can be hidden by doing lots of things at the same time. It’s important to distinguish between doing things and getting better. Movement and Growth are not the same thing. Building competence is about conquering challenges, mastering skills, and that genuine sense of accomplishment.
 
Examples:
  • Taking on too many projects at the same time, resulting in surface-level engagement without mastery.
  • Not stepping outside of our comfort zone, fearing failure and stagnating.
Developing your skills means taking on challenges that really help you grow. It’s about overcoming obstacles that match your goals, not just doing tasks. When you do this, you add value to your journey of self-improvement by feeling a strong sense of achievement and skill.
 

Step 3: Cultivate Relatedness – Building Bridges

Doing things on your own as a self-starter can make you feel alone. People working on their own businesses or side projects might have a hard time connecting with others or making a community. But making connections with others is important for help, working together, and sharing experiences.
 
Examples:
  • A solopreneur who works in isolation, missing out on the opportunity to gain insights and support from a community.
  • A side-hustler who struggles to connect with peers, hindering the potential for collaboration and shared growth.
Making connections with others in a similar situation, industray or profession is important. When you build bridges, you make your support group stronger, and it gives you chances to work together and share experiences, making your journey more fun. There are many ways you can do this: Join a community, participate in events, collaborate, hop on a video call, help others, etc
 
By doing these steps, you’re not only gauging your self-starter happiness but actively shaping it. Reflection becomes a tool not just for personal growth but for navigating the unique challenges of solopreneurship.
 
Understanding autonomy, competence, and relatedness helps you to build a self-starter lifestyle that is not only successful but also deeply fulfilling.
 
As the year ends, I hope this helps you to find insightful reflections, transformative learnings, and create and endlessly rewarding journey.
 
I’m rooting for you! 🙌

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