What You Need to Know About Success to be Successful
When you hear the word success, what are the things that come to mind?
Perhaps you associate success with money, the job title you have, the degree you have earned, or how far you have been able to climb the corporate ladder. You may also think of someone famous or a person with a certain social status.
While we may be quickly tempted to define success by these circumstances, we also need to be careful not to fall into the idea of success but instead focus on what it truly means to ourselves.
This assumption of success outlined by fame and money can cause us to fall into the idea of success rather than chasing the truth of what it means for each of us. At some point, you may even come to realize that chasing the concept of success isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. Scoring the corner office or achieving another job promotion may sound great, but if it isn’t what you truly want, it may not hold a lot of value for you.
When the question, “What is success?” is asked, the correct answer is — there is no right answer. There isn’t one simple logical response that each of us can get behind because success is very much how each of us defines it ourselves.
Now to be clear, I am all for titles, money, and climbing the corporate ladder, but only if those things are part of your definition of success.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your well-being is to return to your definition of success and do it often.
American businesswoman Anne Sweeney tells us this, “Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you are proud to live.” Perhaps, that is what each of us needs to hear. We have permission to decide what living a successful life is. Here are three helpful tips to keep in mind as you build your definition.
- Wealth Beware
If you are thinking about creating your definition based on how many digits you can acquire in your bank account, you may want to think again. Society has a way of placing pressure on us to be consumed with the idea of chasing money. We may even consider that more money automatically means we will be happier, but that isn’t always the case. There are many other important factors we need to think about. Here is what one of the wealthiest, Bill Gates, has to say. Gates defines success by making a difference and taking care of the people closest to him. Gates once said, “It is also nice to feel like you made a difference — inventing something or raising kids or helping people in need.” Instead of being all encompassed with chasing money, make sure you also pause from time to time to ensure you pursue morals, values, and a meaningful purpose, not just a bigger paycheck.
2. The Validity Comes From Within Yourself
If you’re looking for validation in this world for how you define success, you may just be waiting awhile. Not everyone’s opinions of success are going to align with your definition. As an exercise, it is good to ask others what their definition is to gain perspective. However, If you let other people define your definition of success, you risk chasing the idea of being successful rather than pursuing what it means to you. The ultimate decision will return to you. For that reason, your definition is going to come from inside yourself. Think back to a time in your life, to an accomplishment you felt the proudest of, one that brought you the most joy. What was significant about that accomplishment? Did you change someone’s life? Face a fear? Use that moment as the foundation of how you measure your success.
3. Stuff will Always Be Stuff
If success is defined by materialistic purchases, fancy cars, and a big home, be mindful, it may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Back in college, I coveted Tiffany’s jewelry. I grew up in a family with financial difficulties and thought I would feel like I “made it” once I could afford something out of reach. I had this vision that once I could strut myself right into the store on Fifth Avenue, it would make me feel like a different person. Turns out, owning the necklace made me feel no different in the long run. The feeling I was looking for was already inside myself. I needed to look a little deeper to understand what success truly meant to me.
What many of us may not realize is that success can also be a moving target. As our lives change, our careers may change as well as many other factors outside of ourselves. We may start a family, and our definition may evolve, and that’s okay.
Is who you are and what you are doing align with your definition of success? If not, it may be time to put pen to paper and create a new definition of what success means to you.
Remember, there isn’t one set definition for each of us. Success is what makes you happy; it has nothing to do with anyone else.