Money? A job title? A degree? Climbing the corporate ladder? Fame?
Many of us may be tempted to define success by these terms, but what is success really? The answer is…there is no right answer. It’s an opinion question. My answer is just as good as yours.
To be clear, I am all for titles, money, climbing a corporate ladder, or being in the spot light, but only if these things are part of your definition of success. What most of us do not realize is that in order to feel successful, we need to define what that means for ourselves. At the end of the day, it comes down to how you, and only you, perceive success. If you let other people define your definition of success, you will never feel fulfilled. There is no one definition that fits all because success is what makes you happy and it really has nothing to do with anyone else.
While there may be no right answer, here are 3 considerations to make before you decide your definition.
If you are thinking about creating your definition based on the digits in your bank account, you may want to think again. Let’s take a look at a little help from one of the wealthiest, Bill Gates. While one may think that Bill would attach his definition of success to money, he instead defines it 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.”
The validity comes from within yourself
If you’re looking for validation in this world, you’ll have to look inside yourself. Remember, this is your definition, not society or what others’ opinions are. 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 it about that accomplishment? Did you change someone’s life? Face a fear? For me, it’s always been when I have escaped my comfort zone and faced my fears.
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 poverty and thought I would feel like I “made it” once I was able to afford something out of reach. A vision that once I was able to 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. Evidently, I needed to look a little deeper to understand what success truly meant to me.
Does what you do and who you are today 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.