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How Do You Define Success?

Aug 09, 2023

What does success mean to you? How do you think about it? Many of us determine our level of success in terms of financial gain, or career progression, titles, or other credentials.  These are extrinsic measures of success.  They may cause us to compare ourselves to others and the levels of success they reach. 

There are a few problems with this approach.  For one thing, when you compare yourself with others, you have a limited view.  You can only see what you can see, and it is never the whole picture. For example, someone who has achieved great financial success may be less successful in other areas.  Maybe they have troubled relationships or poor health or feel the constant pressure to achieve more and accumulate more.

The other problem with this definition of success is that you never seem to fully grasp it. There is always another level to reach toward.  This can lead to self-doubt, fear, and a great deal of frustration. Constant comparison to others can really inhibit our ability to experience joy and happiness, because we feel we fail on some level, that we don’t measure up. In this scenario, we are never “good enough.”

Finally, when we get too focused on one area of achievement, we tend to ignore other important areas of our lives until we realize, at some point, that we are facing a serious lack in those other areas. I love the analog of juggling glass and rubber balls, and making sure that you keep the glass balls going at all costs, because, when dropped, the rubber balls will bounce, but the glass ones will just break.  Do you know which are the glass balls vs. the rubber balls in your life?

In my program, Magnifying Success, I offer a three-step process for increasing your level of success over time.  It starts with defining success on your terms, not someone else’s terms.  We often fall prey to what others – parents, teachers, bosses, co-workers, even friends -- tell us we need to do to be successful. It’s always easier to give advice from the outside looking in, even when we can’t see the whole picture.

For measuring success, I prefer a holistic approach that looks at various life segments:  business / career, financial, health and well-being, relationships, personal, recreation, and contribution / legacy. The process is to measure how satisfied you are in each area, on a scale of one to ten, then to determine which areas you need to focus on at the present time.

The beauty of this process is that it recognizes that life is not only multi-dimensional, but also that it’s dynamic.  It changes over time.  There might be years, for example, that you focus on your career, and other times when you put more effort into relationships.

If you measure your success based on your own assessment of what’s most important to you right now, and not according to what others tell you, your measure of success becomes more intrinsic.  The sense of self-satisfaction that occurs with the attainment of a worthy goal – or even meaningful progress toward that goal – provides greater fulfillment and happiness than trying to keep up with others – and falling short.

If you are interested in taking a deeper dive into measuring your success, magnifying it, and learning to leverage it, I recommend my program Magnifying Success. It includes audio training with a companion workbook to guide you through the thought process to taking ownership to your success and making the progress you want in the areas you need.

And, as always, please share this post with those who may benefit, and reply to me with any questions or comments – I love hearing from you!




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