The definition of success is “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose” yet many seem to view success in terms of fame or wealth. That without being famous or being wealthy, we are not successful.
In conversations with people I view as successful in various aspects of their lives, it is apparent that most people do not see themselves as successful and they do not celebrate their achievements. This includes me. Despite going from homeless victim of domestic violence to CEO living the life I want and created for myself, I have had many moments of self doubt.
How do you know what success is to you?
At the end of 2015, I was feeling decidedly unsuccessful. I felt I had not fulfilled what I set out to do, which was a result of my health issues (paralysis and a cancer scare) for most of that year. When I mentioned my insecurities to my partner, he nearly choked. He pointed out my many successes, not only in my career, but in my personal life, with my family and within myself. Despite my health and lacking abilities as a result, it was quite a successful year – I was a finalist for Young Australian of the Year in the ACT, named one of 15 women to watch, runner up for both Rising Woman of Spirit and Emerging AusMumpreneur, awarded the first ever Plutus Foundation Service Award, spoke at numerous events and was in media including tv, radio and magazines for issues relating to homelessness and domestic violence, I had started dating again, my daughters appeared to have overcome many of their learning difficulties and other issues stemming from our abusive past and we were finally settled and happy. I pondered on what he said and decided to step back, take some time for self care and self reflection and work out what success means to me.
I realised, I was basing my success on income and finances only.
The definition of success is not how much money you make or have!
To know my definition of success I needed to know my core values and review my goals. I have 10 steps to success with goals here and I have achieved most of the goals I have set myself since implementing this system. Looking at my core values and what matters to me in my life, I have been incredibly successful and I am grateful for that. I don’t often see it. I rarely celebrate my achievements, in fact it is usually straight onto the next project or event instead of doing anything.
This needs to change. I think too often people downplay their achievements, they don’t celebrate the small victories and we spend so much time comparing our lives to others that when we have small successes we don’t share them as much as we should because someone else has done it bigger and better.
What is success to you?
I was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and while I no longer belong to the church, there is a quote that bounces around in my head constantly and is the driving force behind all I do.
“No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” ~ President David O. Mckay (who was reportedly quoting J. E. McCulloch or Benjamin Disraeli.)
The way I read this is it is my responsibility to raise my daughters to be better than myself, to give them a safe, loving home and to lead by example. Leaving my abusive ex husband in 2012 saw me start a whole new life and have a strong view on this quote. I wanted to show my daughters I could provide for them, love and support them, give them everything they needed, teach them to be compassionate, loving, intelligent, confident and funny.
In 2013, we ended up homeless after domestic violence and I felt I was failing. I continued and now have gone from homeless domestic violence victim to multiple international award winning CEO, author, speaker and I have created a life I love. It took a few years, I now look at my life and am in awe.
Success to me is overcoming obstacles, turning them into opportunities and creating a life you love. Living a life true to yourself.
I asked others I know to give me their definition of success:
“I believe we should create our own definition of what we want our success to look like, it doesn’t have to be about fame and fortune at all, despite what society would have us believe. Arianna Huffington talks about this in her book ‘Thrive’ and she suggests re-defining success in terms of wellbeing, wisdom and giving. My definition would be slightly different from hers, I think happiness, family and achievement are more closely aligned to the way I measure my success and the priorities I have for my life.” ~ Peace Mitchell, co-founder AusMumpreneurs.
“For me success will be sitting down at the end of my days and feeling that I made a positive contribution to the world, that I spent my time doing what I love and what I’m good at, and that I truly loved.” ~ Tara O’Connell creator of The Baby Diaries and CEO at Tara O’Connell
“Am I happy at the end of each day? Do I feel like the work I am doing is making a difference? Am I enriching people’s lives and likewise feeling enriched myself? Do I wake up wanting to go to work each day? If yes, then I am successful. What good is an overflowing bank account if you are too tired/stressed/busy to do anything with it. Get the foundations of success right first and the riches (whatever they are for you) will follow.” ~ Sara Keli Editor and Chief at Kid Magazine
“I believe that we define our own success. I feel successful all of the time because I am living my passion of writing and publishing books. Today an amazing illustrator connected with me asking to collaborate on future projects with Serenity Kids. This is going to skyrocket this division of Serenity Press. Making Magic Happen almost every day is how I define my success.” ~ Karen Mc Dermott of Serenity Press
“My head hits the pillow and I have a sense that ‘who I am’ embraced God, self & others… Memories were created – life spoken, light shone & love shared.” ~ Natalie Wood
“Success for me can change from day to day. Sometimes it is purely getting through the day with as few toddler tantrums as possible and then other days, it is knowing that I have been able to help and make a difference in people’s lives smile emoticon I feel it is important to find something successful for which I can be grateful for in each day.” Lorrie Brook of Our Children
“Success for me is being present in each moment for whatever I am doing. Sounds simple but is really difficult in practice.” Brooklyn Eller of Lil One Photography
“My definition of success is all around being a B Corporation and using my business to effect positive social change. I am really proud of the projects we have been able to support and to be able to tackle kids health issues head, which is a much bigger motivator for me than just selling product. Interesting listening to Blake Mycoskie from TOMs Shoes. He’s given away 50 million pairs of shoes over the past 10 years to families in need but he says that if it was only ever 1 pair, that would still be just as, if not more important than anything else. I agree wholeheartedly with this. No matter how big or small a business, it’s what we are doing right now to give back that matters the very most.” Monica Meldrum of Whole Kids
“It’s easy to get caught up with the end results of success, like losing a certain amount of weight, earning an amount of money, or retiring by a certain time. But I love the advice of Viktor Frankl, a brilliant man who survived the holocaust during World War II. He said ‘Don’t aim at success … for success, like happiness, cannot be pursued, it must ensue.’ The more I’ve tried to become successful, the more I’ve realized it’s about the process. If you put in the work and focus on the fundamentals of your craft, you can’t help but also enjoy the fruits of success that will come. And the growth you experience along the way is as rewarding as the end result.” ~ Chad Carson, you can check out his post on it – Let Success Ensue
“For me, success is having a reason to put a smile on your face in the morning. When I wake up, I know I will be doing things I enjoy. Otherwise, I know I can have someone do them for me, or I know they’ll be just a one off, then I can resume having an awesome day.
Money helps, but mostly, it helps buy the freedom to live such days. I could make five times as much sitting at a desk, and it wouldn’t feel as good.
Success is also being able to give freely and pass it forward. When I help people without compromising myself, it is a great feeling.” ~ Pauline from Reach Financial Independence
“My definition of success has evolved over the years. In my 20s, I was living the “Sex and the City” lifestyle – spending money on shoes and martinis while living in downtown Philadelphia. A prominent corporate career was what I thought was the key to being successful financially and in my career so I devoted a lot of time and effort to climbing the corporate ladder. It wasn’t until six years ago in my early thirties that I realized my financial situation was a mess and slowly paid off my $56,000 of debt. Through that debt repayment process, I began to focus less on the material things in my life (including the corporate climb) and focused on other definitions of success – being happy in my career path (which I am currently changing), focusing on quality relationships with other people and spending money on experiences vs material things. So here I am at 38 renting a 1 bedroom apartment with no debt, traveling (including some missionary-type trips) and building my side business which I love to leave the corporate world. I am so much happier and feel more successful now than I was in my 20s because I am focusing on the present and enjoying what I have now.” ~ Jessica Garbarino of Every Single Dollar
Jon Dulin discusses success as being what were have accomplished along the way. Even in failures, we learn something new and that is a success. You can read it here.
“Success to me is the benchmark that you set yourself. It should never be compared to where others are or what is outside your business focus. Success is reaching that milestone and creating another so that your comfort zone shifts and you grow as a business person and individual, whilst gaining solid skills and life experience along the way.” ~ Julie Okely of Dilkara Essence of Australia
“I am more inclined to see it as achievement and it is a very personal thing. In my work, I find those who align their version of success/achievement to personal values, life vision and every day micro moments are nailing it.” Kylie Bartlett of Women of Achievement
“I believe success is when you create a life you love. A life that blends all the roles we play together with ease and flow. A life where serving others brings more greatness than serving yourself. Success is looking at each day with a full heart and with gratitude for all the peaks and troughs that bought you that bit closer to your truth. Alignment, authenticity & integrity.” ~ Annalisa Tuoto Siefken, of Bare Movement
How will you define your success?
Take some time for yourself, work out your values, your goals and celebrate your achievements. Recognise all your success, big and small. Success is not only about the money.
What is something you have been successful with lately or an achievement of yours? How do you define success?