By being kind to yourself. If you couldn’t exercise today because of the demands of your toddler and your job, you can find time to exercise later in the week.

Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.

As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Amy Feind Reeves. By any definition, Amy has had an extremely successful and rewarding career as an executive, but she hit two points of inflection when she sought career help and found the resources she needed did not exist. One of those inflection points was getting out of college, and one was transitioning to a role that could fit her life as an unexpectedly single mother with limited ability to travel. So instead of retiring when she had the chance, she created those resources for others.

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?

As you mentioned Karen, I created my business to provide a service that I know from personal experience is not out there in the marketplace. When I graduated from college, I did not have a particularly marketable major or any connections to the Wall Street jobs that I wanted. I really floundered trying to find my way. So, I spent a year as an admin, meanwhile learning about the jobs I wanted and teaching myself how to get one. Which I did, and quickly learned that I was good at it and liked it. So why had I failed so miserably the year before trying to get the same jobs? I just did not know how to do it. And my passion was born for helping others do the same. It’s a strange passion, but it is also very rewarding. The perspective I offer now is that of a hiring manager, and that is how what I offer is unique.

We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?

I’ve redefined success in each of my career stages. In my first career as a banker, I had a 10-state territory on the West Coast where I flew first class for one week a month. I had never been West of Pennsylvania until then! I worked with big oil and gas companies that gave me tours of their private art galleries, and mining companies that took me on their private planes I was thrilled with my success. But I wasn’t learning anything after a while so the perks faded quickly. After business school, I was in the distinctly unfashionable heavy metals and chemicals group of a consulting firm and spent months at a time living in Hampton Inns in remote parts of the country five days a week BUT loved the challenging work and good paycheck. After a while, the constant travel took a toll, as it does on most people. Eventually, I think every professional needs to find the balance that works for them of travel, intellectual engagement, and salary. Almost all my mid-career clients come to me seeking to redefine this for themselves in a new way.

How has your definition of success changed?

Well, I’m an 80’s girl so I cringe at the way I used to think success came with lots of expensive, monogrammed “stuff”. If you had asked me to define luxury back then, I probably would have said something you could buy or wear, and I now define luxury as being able to have my coffee outside in the morning in my pajamas with no time constraint. I probably would have said success meant rising to the top of an organization and wearing great suits, then hosting Ina Garten-like parties at my weekend home. Now I love having a small company, not wearing suits, and don’t even like taking care of the home I have, much less having two.

The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post-pandemic?

The change we need to accept is that we must spend our time and attention as carefully as we spend our money. Our time and attention are just as precious, and perhaps even more so because they are truly finite and cannot be returned.

I hear people talking about the resentment they are starting to feel about having their calendars fill up with events now that people are starting to stack up meetings, and get-togethers again. Of course, we all missed human connection, but I think we all started to appreciate the downtime as well.

I am hopeful. It is not easy, but I find the older I get, the less I care about doing the things I’m “supposed to do” and more about doing what I want to do.

What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.

It went from being difficult to see your favorite friends to being very, very easy — by Zoom of course, but still…. And we could be creative by having people sign on wearing their most ridiculous hat or holding up the most embarrassing food they had secreted away in their house. And we could usually schedule with just one email!

My daughter and her friends got very creative as well — one birthday party was in an empty parking lot where everyone brought birthday cakes to eat out of the trunk of a car and put on roller skates. It felt like when we were all broke and had to make our own fun. I really enjoyed that part.

Another unexpected positive, maybe more unique, came in the form of people being honest about their family pandemic dynamics. My family is nerdy so one of the things I did was buy a deck of flashcards with the flags of the world on them. I thought we could memorize together over dinners. We never opened the box. My entire book club later confessed to planning family activities that turned into everything from non-starters to screaming matches. All those families who were posting about how close they were getting as the result of the pandemic? That night we realized plenty of us were just plain getting on each other’s nerves. And it was ok.

We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?”

  1. By being kind to yourself. If you couldn’t exercise today because of the demands of your toddler and your job, you can find time to exercise later in the week.
  2. By not comparing yourself to others. There is always going to be someone who gets to the stage of life you are aiming for ahead of you, or a new job you would have loved, or that nod from the boss you covet. It’s not about them, but rather, it’s about you.
  3. By being patient. Someone else may have what you think you want, but you might have dodged a bullet. Timing may bring something better your way. Focus on doing the best job you can, and that success will be rewarded as well as rewarding.
  4. By building success into ALL parts of your life. My “buckets” are family, friends, community and philanthropy, health and wellbeing, and career. What are your buckets? How do you divide your time amongst them? How do you define success for each of them?
  5. By thinking of success as a continuum not as a snapshot. Everyone has successes and failures, but that does not make them a success or a failure. A bad day, month, or quarter does not make you any less successful in the scheme of things than does a good day, month, or quarter. Careers, and life, are long. Do your best every day, then let it go.

How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?

Ha, I think everyone would be able to just calm down a little. We are a culture driven so much by accumulating:

things, money, awards, degrees, recognition, accolades, followers…whatever is “your thing.”

Life is so much more pleasant, and I cannot say that I practice what I preach when I can focus less on accumulating and more on what I think of as the ABCs of success: acceptance, balance, and contentment. It is a simple mnemonic but a big task. If we could achieve it, we would be likely to:

  • Increase our life expectancy (currently the US is the lowest in the world due to stress).
  • Find more time in our days (just a hunch with anecdotal evidence).
  • Improve our relationships (ditto).
  • Be happier (Focus group of one — me!).

What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?

I would say don’t worry about overcoming the collective obstacles until you have a clear definition of what you want, and how that translates into your life.

Personal ambition, the need for external validation, and the allure of realizing your lifestyle aspirations past the point of financial security are all strong drivers for traditional success. Yet none of these things need be considered “obstacles.” Time with family, investment in the community, the pursuit of personal interests and passions, and often good health can stand in opposition to traditional definitions of success — but not necessarily.

Defining and/or redefining success is deeply personal and, also, can be segmented by time, so that a solid five years of total focus on making money followed by a solid five years of total investment in family, community, and health may be what works best for you.

The trick is to be proactive about defining success for yourself. Don’t let five years slip by where you were focused on something that wasn’t really what you wanted.

Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?

Honestly, I go to my parents. I am lucky to have been brought up by members of The Greatest Generation. The depression was hard on both their families and my father saw heavy combat in WW II. My mother worked very hard all her life, and they lost one of their five kids to childhood cancer. My father turned down a promotion that ended his career after the loss of my sister but was happy with what we had. It would likely have been easier for him to immerse himself in work, but he immersed himself in rebuilding our family. Our house was always fun. We always welcomed guests, and guests loved to come. My parents have a large brood of great-grandkids now they never got to meet, but they are learning the same values. That is my success model.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.

Your founder! Sir Richard Branson as I met him once and THAT guy knows how to enjoy life! Plus, he is extremely down-to-earth and friendly. Adam Grant or Daniel Pink- I love their work and look forward to any content they produce. Also, would love to talk to Annie Duke and her fascinating book Thinking in Bets.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I’m at and also, @jobcoachamyf on Twitter, (Instagram), (Pinterest), and YouTube, and my first book College to Career, Explained will be available from all major booksellers July 12, 2022.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.