When we were younger, the markers of success were more clearly defined and widely accepted. Whether you were the kid in school that studied hard, got straight A’s and made your way into a wonderful college or the captain of a sports team who used your impeccable leadership skills and athleticism to help your team win championships, those successes were celebrated with trophies and parties, making it clear to you and those around you just how special you were.
Now that we are older, success comes in many shapes and sizes and is seldom celebrated with a gold figure on a marble slab. Being able to define your own personal definition of success, and celebrate it when you attain it, is crucial for a successful entrepreneur. If you don’t clearly define what personal success means to you, you will likely spend your whole life chasing after someone else’s dream and thinking your life isn’t as successful as it actually is.
Figure Out the “When”
To understand what success means to you, you must first figure out when in your life you have felt the most successful. Whether that was when you got a huge raise after completing a project that you were passionate about or when you clicked publish and launched your blog for the first time, write down all of the moments in your life that you felt successful.
Determine the “Why”
Once you have figured out when you have felt the most successful throughout your life, you must then figure out why those moments lead you to feel successful. In order to do so, you have to figure out what the common thread is in all of those successful moments. Defining why you felt successful on all of those occasions is what you are looking to duplicate in the future. There are no right or wrong answers. This will be the driving force that will act as a foundation for all of your goals.
Questions to Consider
Did you feel successful because you were you fiscally rewarded?
Did you feel successful because you made the people who love you proud?
Or did you feel successful in that moment simply because it made you feel strong and independent?
Determine the difference between your own personal success and the definition of other people's success you may be chasing.
Find Your Purpose
We have all heard stories of categorically successful people who have explained that even at the height of their careers while they were accomplishing more than they could have ever dreamed of, they still did not feel truly successful. They all echo that this disconnect stemmed from the fact that they didn’t feel like they were living with purpose.
Without purpose, your goals pale in comparison to goals in which purpose is present. Purpose is one of the strongest driving forces towards success. Ask yourself, if money and notoriety were not a factor, what would your most sincere goals be? What would you, as an individual, like to accomplish? What would you want to be remembered for?
Purpose is one of the strongest driving forces towards success.
As you grow older, your definition of success will evolve along with you. Life is filled with twists and turns. You will explore different career paths, enter different relationships (both personal and professional) all of which will alter your perception of success. This is a good thing! There will be things that you at one point valued highly which will turn out to not matter as much. And the importance you placed on money or fame may turn into a drive towards positive impact and social awareness.
Wherever your path may lead you, be open to what success means to you. Don’t chase after society’s cookie cutter view of “making it.” Aim to wake up every single day with a smile on your face because you are working towards something that will fill you with both purpose and success.