The definition of Success

One of the questions we ask participants in our leadership training is, “Do you genuinely want to be successful?” The universal answer, as you would expect, is a resounding “Yes.” In an interesting conundrum, however, when the same people are asked what the definition of success is, most struggle for the answer. Most of us, it seems, are looking for something more and better – but we’re just not quite sure what that is. It’s like we’re all driving in a car, not knowing where we are or where we’re going – but we’re desperately hoping that we get there soon.

So what is success? Let’s start with what it isn’t. There are three great myths about success that prevent many people from truly enjoying themselves at work and at home:

Myth #1: Success and financial wealth are the same thing

This is the Great Trap. Many people mistake financial wealth and material things for success then make themselves miserable trying to attain them. The reason we make this mistake, I believe, is that wealth can often follow success, and we fail to make the distinction. Ask Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey or J.K. Rowling what their greatest successes are, however, and their answers won’t be “money.”

Myth #2: Success is only attainable for a few

Nonsense. The only people who can’t attain success are either those who haven’t defined what success is for them, or those who have defined success in terms that are absolutely unrealistic.

Myth #3: Success comes at a price

Sure – if you define success as being financial wealth, there can be a terrible price as you sacrifice the things that are important to you to achieve that goal. But if you’ve sacrificed the things that are important to you, have you really achieved success?

What Is The Definition of Success for YOU?

The secret to being successful is knowing that there is no secret. It begins with identifying what success means to you – then working toward it with focus and determination. Success isn’t an end result, but a state of mind. It’s knowing that you’re achieving something that is important to you. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve defined success as being a great parent, a leader of industry, a role model for youth, an innovator or just a good friend. What matters is that the definition works for you.

Define what success is for you, then begin your journey. If you start to find the journey unenjoyable, or that you’re paying ‘too great a price’, it’s time to take a closer look at your definition.

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