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Defining Success for yourself

Success. What is it? What must someone do, achieve, or become to be considered "successful?"

Before you read my thoughts, I ask you to reflect on these questions:

  1. When you think of success, who/what comes to mind?

  2. How do you define success?

  3. When you were younger (childhood, high school), how did you define success? Is it different now?

When we think about most people's view of success, it usually involves one of the following: lots of money in their bank account, prominent position in their company/career, owning a successful business, a world leader, or someone who you read about in history books. Someone with a great accomplishment.

Ironically, when you ask some of the people whom society deems successful what their definition of success it, it looks quite different. Below are quotes on how some of them define success:

"Too many people measure how successful they are by how much money they make or the people that they associate with. In my opinion, true success should be measured by how happy you are." - Sir Richard Branson

"To me, the definition of success is waking up in the morning with a smile on your face, knowing it's going to be a great day. I was happy and felt like I was successful when I was poor, living six guys in a three-bedroom apartment, sleeping on the floor." - Mark Cuban

"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it." - Maya Angelou

“If you carefully consider what you want to be said of you in the funeral experience you will find your definition of success.” - Stephen Covey

"I measure success by how many people love me.” - Warren Buffett

Success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.” - Thomas Edison

"Success in life could be defined as the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals." - Deepak Chopra

"Success isn't how much money you have. Success is not what your position is. Success is how well you do what you do when nobody else is looking." - John Paul DeJoria

"Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” - Winston Churchill

As I read through these quotes, it got me thinking… how do I define success?

I tend to agree with Stephen Covey and believe that success is individually defined. Millions of dollars in the bank means nothing if I am not truly happy. Having a job that I love means nothing if I don't have a life outside of work. I think often the people who we view as successful from afar, may actually be missing some of the key components of true success; happiness, love, and contentment.

While money and power are things that I still associate with success, TRUE success is much simpler than that for me.

It's being healthy - physically, mentally, emotionally. Taking care of myself in all aspects of my life and healthy habits that I practice regularly.

It's also loving others and being loved in return. A supportive network. Genuine friendships. A loyal tribe. It is being able to share my life journey with other people who I love and respect, and being able to be a part of their journey as well.

It is being well-thought-of. I try and conduct myself in a way that if I were not in a room and I was the topic of discussion, I would like what was being said. Another way to look at it as mentioned by Stephen Covey: what would you want people to say at your funeral? That you were rich, drove a fancy car, and had nice things? There is nothing wrong with that, but is this what I would want people to remember me for?

I would want people to say that I was kind. Generous. Thoughtful. Empathetic. Loving. A great energy. That I lived a full life and tried to enhance the lives of those around me every day. And well, if all of that is true, then I am as successful as I could every want to be.

And so I ask you to reflect again on the questions below:

  1. How would you now define success?

  2. Do you consider yourself successful?

  3. If not, what are you doing each and every day to get closer to that?

Would love to hear your thoughts on what success is. Drop me a line!


Holly B.


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