“If a man wakes up in the morning, goes to bed at night, and in between does exactly what he wanted, that’s success” ~ Bob Dylan
For a lot of folks, “Success” is like Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster: They believe it exists, but very few think they’ll ever really find it! It’s true: If you ask most folks “Are you successful?” they’ll likely say things like “Sort of” or “I Dunno” or “Maybe”, all which are answers containing just a fleck of truth to a question that is much meatier when answered correctly. In all honesty, this is usually because people don’t know if they are “Successful” or not, simply because they aren’t sure what their definition of “Success” is – and that’s the point. “Success” looks different to everyone; but without taking the time to understand what it looks like for us personally, we’ll most likely offer up vague replies if asked the question.
The bottom line is this: If we don’t know what a target looks like, it’s pretty much impossible to hit it, right? Well, the same goes for “Success“; if we want to achieve it, we have to first know what it looks like to us; for only when we know this, can we know if we have truly found it.
Abundance of (X) = SUCCESS!
For most people, “Success” is usually represented by abundance of some kind, often in various different areas of their lives; the question is: What areas? It’s like one of those math formulas where you have to figure out on the chalkboard what “X” is, only in this case you don’t need the board since, believe it or not, you already know the answer; “X” is what you really care about, and probably where your passion and purpose is greatest! If you take a moment to figure out where these traits can be found, and then how to get loads and loads of whatever it is that inspires them in you, then voila! You’ll have a custom road map to finding “Success” – only it will be your definition, not someone else’s!
For example: One guy might believe “X” represents a specific amount of capital in the bank, investments, real estate; etc. He loves the idea of the fame, power and security this all represents, and the fabulous lifestyle it provides him; Let’s call him “Donald Trump”. On the flip side, somebody else might consider all the money, fame and never-ending parade of trophy wives unimportant and unworthy of the term “Success” – instead defining it by helping those (amongst others) infected with HIV, leprosy, tuberculosis, orphans, etc. live with dignity in the filthy slums of Calcutta… let’s call her “Mother Teresa”; two very different versions of “Success”, but both very close and dear to those who define them in each way.
While I’m not Donald Trump, I’m no Mother Teresa either; far from it! So if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably find your definition of “Success” coming from the achievement of certain benchmarks scattered throughout different areas of your life; areas like family, relationship(s), career, health, skills, activities, etc. Your definition depends completely on what is important to YOU, and what allows YOU to go to bed at night feeling happy and content about your life, and nothing else.
For me personally it’s things like making sure I’m taking care of my family, and doing cool things with them; progressing in my financial goals towards an early “semi-retirement”; growing my blog writing skills each day; keeping reasonably fit and active (for an old man); and growing my self into a better person a little each day. I figure if I’m moving a wee bit forward in all these areas, then I believe I’m successful – despite still having a ways to go to get to the individual finish lines. I often say to people “I don’t want to die tomorrow, but if I did, at least I know I’ll have really lived”, which – now that I see it written down – believe is MY own definition of “Success”.
Defining Success for YOU
“Success doesn’t come to you: You go to it.” ~ Marva Collins
Okay, so it’s the moment of truth! How do YOU define “Success”? What’s that? You’re not completely sure how to answer this daunting question? No problem – it’s pretty easy to narrow down your thoughts and get a good, solid working definition by simply searching your heart. Dig deep, and identify the ideas and activities that get you excited – you know, those things that make your heart race, your palms sweat and cause you to smile, just at the very thought of them.
These things are the ambitions, goals and dreams that make you feel absolutely happy and fulfilled; they represent the most important things, places and people to you, and in your life. Ultimately these are the places where you truly want to spend your time and efforts, because these are the things that define “Success” for you. Take a few moments to ask yourself the following questions completely and thoroughly, and once you are done, you will know be able to see what’s important to you, and the form(s) of abundance your version of “Success” comes in.
• “What would you do if you had unlimited time, money and resources?”
• “Where would you go and who would you want to share your life with you?”
• “What is it that you get EXCITED about?”
Remember this: Whenever we clearly identify what goals, dreams and ambitions look like for us, we define what “Success” means to us; and it may be a lot different from what we thought it was. (“What?! I don’t want $1,000,000?! I just want to go traveling?!”) Following up these ideas with a plan to achieve these goals (including making a Goals List and Goals Board to help inspire your journey) is what helps you take them from the unconscious mind, to the real world where you can experience them for yourself; and trust me, once you’ve done this a few times, you’ll have no problem remembering what “Success” looks like; not for you at least. Happy Hunting!
Readers – How has your own definition of “Success” changed over the years; or has it? Please let us know in the comments below!