This morning I was pondering a recent move to a new home.

I am in love with my new casa. The space feels so good and so homey already (despite the total lack of furniture). I love the place, and it appears to love me back.

Pearl. The winner of the “best pet ever” contest for the 11th year in a row (she first won when she was still in the egg).

In the same way, I am so happy in my relationships right now. I am having a great time with family and friends, I am on track to take a nice vacation to one of my favorite places this fall, my writing and speaking clients are great to work with and some have become good friends as well.

Oh, and I have the best pet in the world. That is not an opinion. 🙂

Yet I have noticed that some part of me – some deep part that has different needs and goals than the rest of me – still feels unfulfilled.

On the outside, it would appear I have gotten all the dominoes to line up just so – you know what I mean. When all your priorities seem to be coalescing from the dream state into reality, you have money in the bank, gas in the car, a (lovely) roof over your head, you feel healthy and happy, and yet….something is missing.

Of course, maybe it is just me. But I have pondered that too, and decided it doesn’t matter. This is my reality, whether or not a single solitary other soul on the planet shares it with me.

This graphic perfectly sums up my experience of success to date. I look and look for it with my outside eyes, but they cannot see past the boundaries to the totality of where and how I need to  experience success.

The surprising truth about success, for me at least, is that it simply does not exist on the “outside.” Each or all of those things that are flowing so well in my life today could be vastly different – or gone – tomorrow.

If the presence or absence of those tangible, material possessions or experiences changes my inner perception of fulfillment, then they are not “it” – not the type of success I am looking for.

I should probably also mention that I have struggled with this issue off and on for years – I will never forget the night, 7 years ago, when I sobbed into a friend’s shoulder and asked him tearfully, “But what if I never find ‘it’ – find what I am looking for?” With absolute compassion and heartbreaking honesty, he simply replied, “You may not.”

But we agreed that I should definitely keep looking.

Today, I look for success inside. I do this because over the decades I have looked everywhere else around and outside of me, in every relationship, every bank deposit, every business success, every pound and ounce (when I was stuck in my eating disorder although certainly not today), every possession, every friendship, and I have never found anything that lasts.

I have not to date found anything on the outside that can fill up the inside of me in a steady and sustained way. In this way, life itself has been and continues to be a mentor to me, teaching me about where to find each of the things I need and crave to live a peaceful and contented life.

The surprising truth about success is that it exists more tangibly in the absence of anything outside of me (whether real or imagined) than it ever has, or presumably will, in the presence of even those people, pursuits and possessions that I love the most.

Today’s Takeaway: Where do you find success? How do you fill up the inside of you? Where do you go for personal fulfillment that you can trust to be there no matter what, each and every moment of every single day? Have you found your “it” yet? I’d love to hear your insights!!