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How Do You Define Success?

May 12, 2008
It's a word we use constantly. Authors of self-help books use it in their titles all the time. If you are a human being with any kind of goal or project, you want it. But what does it actually mean? How do we define success?

We may all want success, but we don't all see it in the same way. One person's success may be another's failure. Some people would be very happy to get a B in exam. For some people, anything less than an A is a failure.

What does a successful person look like? Do you imagine someone with an expensive, fast car with a Rolex watch? Do you think about a sportsperson winning a gold medal? A great contributor to humanity, such as Ghandi? Or do you imagine a person who is merely happy?

If we have achieved our goals, but are not happy, are we truly successful? Perhaps this just means that we have not clearly defined our own terms of success. If achieving our goals does not bring fulfilment, perhaps it was someone else's goal we were aiming for. Our parents, peers and teachers may be very good at imposing their own views of what success means, but the danger is that it may not ultimately be ours, and it can take a long time to find this out.

There are many different definitions of success. Before we travel the road on the journey to our goals, we need to be sure that we understand our own vision of success.

For example, let us say that you own your own online home business. Of course, you want it to be successful. But what does this success look like for you? Is it extra income so that you can go on an extra holiday every year? Do you want it to bring you a full time income so you can leave your current job? Or do you want to be a multi-millionaire like Matt Morris of Success University? Which of these definitions means the most to you?

The other danger, other than not defining our own terms, is that we set our terms too high. I am not saying we should not have big goals; we can all benefit from thinking big. But if our only goal in life is to be a millionaire, it might just take a little time to feel successful! Why not be successful every day? There are many ways in which we can set ourselves little goals or tasks for every day, or every week so we can feel we are making progress and be a successful person.

Here's an example. One of my biggest goals is to become a bestselling author. However, I don't think that I am not successful because I have not yet achieved that. For me, I am successful if I write every day and am continually working towards my main goal. I have other writing successes, such as completing four novels and having articles published in glossy magazines. Yet, while these are all successful achievements, they are also stepping stones towards more confidence, more goals and greater achievement.

While we are aiming for the stars, we also need to look around us and see where we are successful every day.

To find your own success definitions, ask yourself the following: What is important to you? Write a list of your important values such as integrity, humour, family or freedom and make sure your goals fit in with these. When did you last feel happy and proud of yourself? What were you doing, or what had you achieved?

If you want success in life there are many resources, such as life coaching or personal development websites. But first you need to define success on your own terms. Once you have done that, you take action to achieve it, and achieve it daily.
About the Author
Ros Bott is a writer and life coach and runs her own home business.

Find information on Career and Confidence Coaching here.

Click here for information about Success University
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