Oftentimes a person’s definition of success encapsulates ideas that were handed down to him or her, like family heirlooms. What we fail to realize is that success means something different for each person. Sure, people will foist their personal ideas of what success means unto you, but the only definition that truly matters is your own.
To understand fully what you're trying to define, start with the fundamentals. The dictionary defines success as "the accomplishment of an aim or purpose." Aim and purpose are two words commonly associated with success. It’s impossible to reach a goal if you don't have these, so try and establish what it is exactly that you aim to reach.
A commonly adopted definition of success floats among ideas of love, money and power — broad, vague goals that are tough to achieve. Most people who prioritize building their businesses or careers ultimately compromise their personal lives. There's a happy medium in which success lies — but this place looks different for all people.
A popular definition of success is to be comfortable financially [read: wealthy]. While this obviously sounds appealing, countless studies prove that money is not directly correlated to happiness. Sure, money buys toys, alleviates stress and makes many day-to-day functions a bit better. But, there are plenty of people out there who possess only a fraction of your materials and are much happier than you are. Our aims and purposes in life should be deeper than a Range Rover or a condo in Hawaii.
Before you can effectively work toward success, you must clearly define the word for yourself. Someone else's definition of success is not appropriate for you to adopt; you won't find true happiness if you're merely going through the motions and faking it. When you aren't clear about what success means, it’s easy to lose direction, and even to feel small or insignificant.
Try answering the questions below to identify your aim and purpose. Be completely honest with yourself. Reassess the list in the coming days, months and years.
What are you hungry for?
What do you day dream about?
Who do you envision yourself becoming?
How do you want to feel about your career?
What do you want to leave behind?
What attributes do you want to see in yourself?
How do you want people to see you?
What do you want as the impact of your work?
A common theme may flow throughout your answers. Take note of that theme and use it as a road map. Do not live your life trying to meet the goals that others have set for you.
Forget your parents, your friends, your spouse, your boss, your coworkers, your critics, your enemies and society; define success for yourself. Not only will your path grow to be more fulfilling, but the chance of attaining success will skyrocket. Good luck.
Top photo credit: Casino