How do you define success?
Is it the amount of money you make? The title you hold? How many people report to you?
Is it the value of you house or stock portfolio? Is it where you live, the car you drive or the schools your or your children attend?
Is it your Klout score, Kred rating, the number of friends you have on Facebook or how many people follow you on Twitter? Is it the number of people who read your Blog?
The reason I ask is because each of us defines our own success.
When I was younger and employed with a blue chip pharmaceutical company, success was getting a raise every six months and being promoted to the next level in the hierarchy ever year or so. When I got to a level where the opportunities for advancement narrowed dramatically, the company went through two years of disruption as it was put on the market, sold and transitioned to the new owner.
I observed all sorts of reactions during that time, from people who bailed immediately, people who coasted through those two years, doing the minimum because they knew management had bigger fish to fry, to those who acted as if nothing was happening and conducted business as usual.
My attitude? We had a responsibility to deliver a viable business to the new owner AND I’d be damned if I was going to let all our hard work of the past go down the drain.
However, the experience itself aside, it changed my perspective about success and my expectations and definition of the term.
What I took away is that each of us defines success for our self, because fundamentally, each of us is responsible for our decisions, our actions and reactions. This even though we are, to an extent, like a ship on the ocean, subject to the impact of external factors.
The Definition May Change Depending on Your Life Stage
I also learned that the meaning of success changes with different life situations and at different life stages. As I age, my definition is more about my whole life than just my work life.
We can embark on the treadmill of other people’s, “society’s”, expectations and define success by those measures, many of them financially oriented, or we can run our own course and define it by what is important to us.
Like bringing up responsible, contributing members of society. Like supporting our dependents and ourselves. By having friends, a close cohort of few, or an extended network of many, or even a combination of the two. By doing, or being, the best we can be in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.
If you don’t have a personal definition of success, you are giving up power to elements outside your control. The risk is that measuring yourself by other people’s standards may result in your dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
What is important to you? What do you want to be remembered for?
How do I define success?
Personally, success for me is being a self-supporting, independent and responsible member of society, conscious of the world and my environment and doing what I can to preserve/support it.
It’s having people to love and who love me in return, enjoying and giving joy to my family, friends and acquaintances.
Success is working to live rather than living to work, which is a fine line, I know. It’s doing work I am passionate about and feeling satisfaction because I am making significant, even important, contributions.
And, for me, success is being kind, and sharing what I am able, especially my time and knowledge, which I believe in giving of freely. (Besides, I have more of that than money.)
Success is having enough but never having so much that I don’t appreciate how fortunate I am.
Now, share with me. How do you define success?