The Meaning of Success
In response to last week’s Comparison is a Thief post, one of my readers reached out to me and shared how a few co-workers were discussing how to define success. Most of the answers they came up with were based on what others were doing in the same field. They were defining their own success based on what other people were doing.
I couldn’t help but wonder,
How often do we find ourselves striving for success based off what other people are doing?
To start this discussion, I thought it would useful if we knew the formal definition of success.
Success, according to Merriam-Webster has two meanings; a) a degree or measure of succeeding and b) favorable or desired outcome.
Interesting! Nowhere in either definition does it say anything about what other people are doing or what society considers as success. What does this mean?
It means that the only person who can define what success means is YOU!
What is the meaning of success?
One of the most important key steps to achieving success in life is to know the meaning of success for YOUR personal life. Media and society have led you to believe that success in life means achieving great wealth, having a lot of things, moving up in an organization, the list goes on.
And when you don’t subscribe to those beliefs, society makes you feel ashamed for not wanting it. You get labeled as lazy or a slacker. Or, your settling because you don’t want to put forth the effort to be more in life.
Your success should never be determined by the approval or recognition of others. You have the power to determine the meaning of success for YOU. If you fail to define success for yourself you end up chasing someone else’s success. This leaves you feeling frustrated, unhappy, and ultimately unsuccessful.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to say that anyone who defines any of the above as successful is wrong. What I am saying is that if it’s not your definition than you shouldn’t feel that you have to achieve it. Everyone is different. What is success to one person may not be to another. This doesn’t make one person right and the other one wrong. It just makes it different.
How do you define success?
I don’t believe success can be defined in one sentence. I believe it is comprised of many things. I don’t believe you can have one definition of success for your whole life. I believe you define success in the many areas of your life. (See picture)
To discover the meaning of success for yourself requires a lot of deep thought, prayer or meditation, and self-analysis.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
*What truly matters to me?
*What do I want to make of my life?
*What do I want to make of my (insert an area from above)?
*Who do I want to be?
*What do I want people to say about me after I am gone?
When you know the meaning of success for yourself, you can begin to develop a plan to get you there. Just as with anything, you may need to change direction from time to time, but you’re still heading towards YOUR destination.
Success is both a goal and a journey. If you don’t define success for yourself, someone else will define it for you.
"Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you're proud to live." -Anne Sweeney
Words of Encouragement
I know as well as anyone how easy it is to get wrapped up in what society defines as being successful. I see ads on how to get more clients or to make a six figure income. Again, I am not saying there is anything wrong with it. There is only something wrong with it if it’s someone else’s definition of success and not YOURS!
Take a look at every area of your life (see list above) and ask yourself what is my meaning for success in this area?
Then ask yourself, is this what I want or did this come from someone else? If your meaning of success came from someone else than I want to challenge you to ask yourself those questions above and come up with the meaning of success for YOU in that area!
When you have the meaning of success for yourself then ask yourself:
How will I track and measure my success?
How will I know when I get there? (What is achieving that success going to look like for you? You have to know what the end game looks like or you will keep spinning your wheels to get there.)
What do you want to do with that success?
How do you define success? I would love to hear. You can share in the comments below or you can DM me on Facebook/ Instagram or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re not sure the meaning of success for you or you want help discovering what it means to you, I would love to help you. Connect with me so we can talk.
I would be most grateful if you shared this post with someone you think might benefit from the content. Thank you in advance for sharing!
Make today amazing!