Success is living a well-rounded life. Health, wealth, happiness, strong family, strong personal relationships, spiritual connections. It’s about all of it, not just one piece of it.
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 Ben Spangl.
Ben Spangl is an entrepreneur that leads a multiple 7 figure agency of over 80 insurance and investment brokers. He is also the host of The Pursuit Podcast where he interviews high performing people in the areas of performance, mindset, health, wealth, spirituality and life success.
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?
Thanks for having me! You know for me, growing up I was not the most popular kid in school and didn’t seem to fit in too well with any of the different major groups, so it led me down a path of thinking that maybe I just wasn’t the successful kind or wasn’t good enough to win. The next few years I was just settling into an average existence and assuming that was my fate, then everything changed. For me one of the greatest life experiences that shaped me was the day I realized that my past did not define my future. I was in my early 20s, had just started in business and was reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. As I read this book, I couldn’t help but get excited thinking about the fact that I no longer had to identify with who I had been up to this point and that I could chart my own life success from here on in. It gave me a whole new lease on life, I felt as if everything I’d thought on success up to that point was false! What a great realization.
We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?
Definitely in the beginning, success in my mind meant you made a lot of money. If you earned big income, you were successful. I think that society places a lot of value around how much money you earn as the measure of true success. And although I believe money and finances are an AREA of success, they are certainly not the only things to be measured.
How has your definition of success changed?
Success to me now is this: are you living the life that you really want? Are you really pursuing the things that you want to do with your life, if you are in the pursuit of that then you are successful in my mind. Rather than success being a destination of needing to have a certain promotion, title, income, house etc. I think the real measure of success now is this: are you leading a life you love? If you’re doing that, all the rest seems to fall into place. The more you chase money, titles, homes, etc. the more happiness seems to elude you. Yet the more you start to live a life you love, the more the other things seem to fall into place more easily.
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?
I think a few changes that could be made in most of our lives that would make a dramatic difference are:
Number one, spending less time consuming the news and media around events that we really don’t have control over. I think one of the reasons why there are a lot of people struggling mentally today is the constant barrage of negative information shared by main stream media. My recommendation is to disconnect from that, you won’t be able to entirely because you hear it all over, but you don’t need to pour your precious time and energy into things we can’t change. Instead spend our time focusing our energy on things we really want in our lives and things we love to do.
Number two, focusing and emphasizing on health and wellness. Whether someone is for or against vaccines and medical support, one thing we can all agree on is: the healthier your body and mind are, the more strength you’ll have to fight off something like this. So, I think we ought to be spending a large chunk of our time, money and energy on strengthening our bodies, minds and spirits so that we can handle things life throws at us in the best way possible.
And lastly, I feel like the fact that many of us have had to reduce our social connections significantly due to lockdowns and restrictions. One thing that is great for us to do is really take stock of the relationships that matter, connect with those people, share great times and experiences. When it comes time for us to leave this planet, we’re not worried about how much money we made but did we live a good life? I think these things matter most.
What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.
Well, I can speak first hand about our business switching from a primarily face to face business to almost 100% virtual now has been a massive positive. I think in the business world, for a lot of companies and industries it’s sped us up by a decade in terms of our reach and better use of our time. In my own business I know I easily gained 2 hours a day that used to be consumed by commuting and driving to different appointments. That’s a lot of extra time! 10+ hours a week, 40+ hours a month, 480+ hours a year! The world may have not been fully ready for a massive virtual component prior to the pandemic, but a big positive that has come is I think now you have had to develop and learn how to operate in a virtual world just to make do with normal life and business.
Certainly, the impact it’s had on our family has been amazing. As an entrepreneur running a company and large team, my life is busy at times like I’m sure it is for a lot of the readers. Because of the pandemic and switching to this wonderful virtual world of business, it’s created more time for me to be with my family. To be able to see and share so much more of this precious life with my wife and two girls has been one of the greatest blessings I could have asked for.
We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?” (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Success is not a result but a process. — Are you chasing after a specific result or are you doing what you love? I realized a long the way that no amount of money, or income, or business size would satisfy our urge for success, because of our nature we almost always want to go to the next level of life and there is nothing wrong with that. However, if success is defined by a result of where you are and you are not there yet, then you are always feeling like you’re unsuccessful. If it’s defined by a process, am I doing what I want to do? Am I progressively moving towards where I want to be? And this is how you now define success, well you can be successful today, rather than some date in the future!
- Life success vs financial success. — To consider that the only measure of success is money is going to take us down a very lonely road and unhappy road long term. Success is living a well-rounded life. Health, wealth, happiness, strong family, strong personal relationships, spiritual connections. It’s about all of it, not just one piece of it.
- Progress rather than perfection. As an achiever it’s so easy to look at where you are not and what you haven’t accomplished or become yet, which almost always leads to frustration or feeling inadequate. I think most of us can relate to that. So, being able to stop, and look at how far have you come? Where have you grown? How much different are you today than 6 months, 1 year or even 3 years ago.
- Learning to be happily dissatisfied. For a long time, no matter how much material success I had achieved, I never felt truly happy with where my life was because I felt like I was missing something. Then in 2017, I began meditating, studying some of the great spiritual minds and teachers of our time and realized that a major key to real life success is learning to be happy and grateful for your life now, and yet still be able to have the dissatisfaction of wanting something greater in the future. I think this is the sweet spot, love my life today and creating a better future for tomorrow.
- Inner scorecard vs outer scorecard. — Especially with social media today, man is it ever easy to start comparing our lives to others. Your inner scorecard is all about you and knowing that you’re giving your best, you’re working on becoming a better you and dedicating yourself to constant improvement. The outside world may or may not see that, they may or may not recognize you for it. But who cares, as long as you know what you’re doing is right, you’re focused on becoming your best self, then it really doesn’t matter what the outer scorecard says.
How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?
I think our quality of life goes up dramatically when we change our definition of success. At the end of the day, everything and anything that all of us ‘want’ in our lives, if we boil that down to the root of it is this: We all want to be happy, and we think that if we get that thing, or become that, or achieve that, or acquire that, it will make us feel good. And I think that’s what we’re after. So, by redefining success, we put ourselves in positions to experience more good feelings and happiness now rather than delaying your happiness for some magical moment in the future.
What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?
Being stuck to old models of thinking, listening to people that tell you otherwise, and feeling less than or not worthy.
I think to work on overcoming these is number one, you’ve got be open minded. Being willing to question what you believe, why do you believe that? Is that actually the truth? Or is it just something you’ve been taught?
Number two, listen to your own guidance. You don’t need anyone else’s approval to change your view of the world. They may or may not agree, but it’s YOUR LIFE! Not theirs, so why let them tell you how to live yours?
Number three, realize that we are all the exact same at the core. We look different and sound different on the outside, but all of us are human beings, born with unlimited potential, born with special gifts and talents unique to us. Our job is to step into that more and realize more of who we really are.
Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?
I think you need to go within. There’s lots of great teachers and resources out there, I’m a big fan of Bob Proctor and the Proctor Gallagher Institute, but at the end of the day taking the time to ask yourself new questions, to take out a notepad or journal and ask, how do I want to define success? What does a successful life look like to me? You’ll find your answers there. Someone else can tell you their opinion, but again, it’s your life, not theirs.
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.
Tony Robbins would be at the top of my list, I think he’s one of the greatest influencers of our time in so many ways. Helping a lot of people realize they are capable of so much more.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Instagram is the best social media platform to find me at, it’s the one I manage fully myself and respond to all messages directly. My handle is @benspangl.
Also, my website we are just launching right away here www.benspangl.com
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.