Society has one version of success.

Go to school, get a good job, get married, have kids, buy stuff.

Work hard, retire, enjoy old age, and die.

Well, maybe die isn’t in the version of success we all hope to achieve.

Is this how you define success? It may look like success to some people but often reality is far different. Most of us end up experiencing debt, divorce, unfulfilling work, and a nagging voice in our heads asking “is this all there is”?

Not everyone has bad experiences in every area of their life but everyone experiences setbacks. To get past these hurdles in life, we need to create our own definition of success, here are five reasons:

Everyone is an Individual

We’re all individuals with our own specific dreams and desires. Our idea of success might not match up with societies. Do you know anyone who has that perfect life; a perfect marriage, perfect job, perfect house, perfect kids? I don’t. That’s because perfection is not possible. Focus on what makes you happy not what you think your life should look like.

You Can’t Compare Yourself to Others

Just as many of us believe that society’s idea of success doesn’t fit us we also need to recognize that other people’s idea of success won’t fit us either. If we try to live up to expectations set by parents, siblings, friends or Coworkers we risk taking on a definition of success that’s not our own. When we try to mimic someone else’s life, we’ll never be happy.

No One Else Will Take Care of You

Business just isn’t what it used to be. My grandparents worked for the same company for decades and in return received a pension when they retired. They stuck with one company their entire career and in exchange, the company took care of them after retirement. These days’ pensions don’t exist and most people will change jobs every 2-5 years.


That perfect life that society tries to sell us on doesn’t consider one of the basic principles of living, change. When we get out of college ready to take on the world and grab that perfect life with both hands we do not understand what’s in store for us. When life happens, both the good and the bad give us the opportunity to reevaluate what success means to us.

We All Wear a Mask of Success

Have you ever noticed most people don’t post ugly selfies, share tales of their latest failure, or upload a video of their kids’ raging tantrum? We share the perfect, filtered shots of the most perfect moments in our lives. Most people do this, I did this. For many years I was living a life that looked successful on the outside but there were disappointments and unhappiness on the inside. Thankfully, I came to the realization that success really must be defined by how it feels rather than by what it looks like.

By understanding these reasons we can focus on what it is that will make life worth living. Success doesn’t come easily or without working for it so you might as well be working for what you would love.

These days I’m living my own definition of success.

It may not look like success to other people but it doesn’t have to, it’s my definition, not theirs.


  • Millette Jones

    Enterprise Podcast Consultant, Speaker, Podcaster

    Cast Global Media.

    Millette Jones is a consultant, podcaster, and speaker. She helps businesses build trust, increase visibility, and drive brand awareness through enterprise podcasts. Join her at or connect on LinkedIn.