What’s the definition of success? Last week I wrote to you about my formula for it. I also promised you that over the coming weeks I’d share each principle in my CORE acronym to help you apply them to your own life. But something struck me after I sent you that email… how do you know what I know about success?
You may have thought, “What does she know? She’s not Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates!” I’m not Oprah or J. K. Rowling. I realize that many people talk about a lot of things, whether or not they’re qualified. Some people have no problem telling you how to do something, even if they haven’t done that thing themselves. But I am not that person. I’m not the “fake it till you make it,” girl. And so, before I go on about what I believe to be the definition of success, I feel I owe you this explanation.
A Myth About the Definition of Success
Most people attribute success to extraordinary accomplishment or the ability to make a lot of money, like the people I stated above. There is no question those are exemplary icons who’ve achieved extraordinary results. But the problem is, as a society, we’re under the mistaken assumption that wealth and/or fame are the only measures of success.
Many of us don’t recognize, acknowledge, or enjoy our own successes because we are constantly measuring ourselves against the wrong yardstick. It’s easy to assume we’re not good enough because we base our accomplishments on society’s view of success versus what makes us happy and fulfilled.
But what if we could go back to the basics? What if we analyzed success from its purest definition?
The Definition of Success
The definition of Success is simply the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. That’s it! It is just the ability to attain a desired end or outcome.
If your goal was to lose ten pounds, and you lost ten pounds, then you were a success at that. If your goal was to become a lawyer, and you became a lawyer, you’ve experienced success. If your purpose in life is to impact the lives of children and you’ve dedicated your life to be a teacher, camp counselor, youth counselor, or amazing parent — you are successful.
Success, at its core, is subjective. When you have permission to view your own life from this perspective, you decide what success looks like for you.
Which takes me back to me
I am a woman who has spent all of her life setting personal and professional goals and has accomplished said goals.
Wouldn’t it be safe to say that, by definition, I am successful?
There is still much more to do. I’m only scratching the surface of all I desire to do in my life. As time goes on, I continue to raise the bar and seek greater achievements. But having more to work for and accomplish doesn’t take away the successes I’ve had; it only suggests there are more successes to come.
But the biggest reason I consider myself a successful person is because I live a purpose-driven, intentional life that I have designed — a life that only promotes good—and I couldn’t be any happier.
True success is success as a whole. Because what good is achievement without fulfillment? What good is being at the top of your game if you’re miserable?
If you make a lot of money, but your relationships are a mess, are you successful? If you’re overworked and overweight and you are harming your body, are you successful? If you’re functional but suffering from addiction, are you successful? If you’re an amazing parent, but you’ve lost your identity in the process, are you successful? If other people think you’re successful, but you’re not happy with your life, are you successful?
Success is not one thing, it’s many things. It always starts with identifying what your aim or purpose is and finding the resources to help you achieve it.
And so, I may not own Amazon, nor will I attempt to teach you the secret to owning a multi-billion dollar empire. But I can share with you the nuggets of wisdom I’ve gathered along the way from shadowing successful people I admire, witnessing and experiencing failures and setbacks, and learning to define and achieve a successful life.
I hope that this article will inspire you to audit your life and acknowledge all the successes you’ve had while defining and envisioning all the successes you have to come. Just because you’re not exactly where you want to be doesn’t mean you’re not successful. It’s about progress. It’s about waking up every day and knowing that today you did the best you could and because of that tomorrow will be even better.
Because success, like happiness, is more of a journey than a destination.
It is my privilege to be on this journey with you.
A Moment of Clarity
Success is not one thing, it’s many things. It always starts with identifying what your aim or purpose is and finding the resources to help you achieve it. If you don’t have a clue where to start, start with CORE.