Everyone wants to be successful. It is part of our DNA. We are created to be successful.
But is success something that is achieved? How do you know when you’ve achieved it? Is success a destination? How do you know when you’ve arrived?
Merriam-Webster reads, “success: the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect or fame.”
Wealth, power and prestige.
But that definition doesn’t sit well with me. I’ve seen too many wealthy, powerful and famous people whose lives are less than desirable and certainly not inspiring.
Three characteristics are common in the definitions proposed by prominent leaders today.
- success is more a process and a mindset than a destination or achievement
- success is measured by the value contributed to the well-being of others
- -the reward of success is a satisfying feeling of having lived well far beyond wealth, power or fame.
Here is my pick of the 10 definitions of success
that best describe my own.
1. “Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.”
2. “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”
(John Wooden, the winningest coach in college basketball history with 620 victories and 10 national titles at UCLA.)
3. “Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be. Success is overcoming fear. F-E-A-R has two meanings: (1) Forget Everything And Run; or, (2) Face Everything And Rise. The choice is yours.”
4. “I define success as living my true purpose and having a positive impact on the lives of people by uplifting them and inspiring them to think and act in ways that they may not have considered before.”
(Raj Sisodia, co-founder of Conscious Capitalism and professor at Babson College)
5. “To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!”
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
6. “Success, for me, has always been in providing a great quality of life for my family, for those who work for me, and to my community.”
(Jeremy Young CEO of Tanga)
7. “To me, success means creating a business that empowers customers, employees, and community in equal measure. We want to add positive value to people’s lives, from a personal and professional standpoint.”
(Dan Kurzius, co-founder and COO of Mailchimp)
8. “I define success as having a job that you enjoy and enables you financially, a spouse and family that loves and cares for you, children that make you proud by who they are and what they do, having the freedom to worship a loving God, and being able to contribute to the betterment of your fellow man. I am so blessed!”
(E.N Garnett Jr., Certified Crop Advisor, Southern States)
9. “I feel that my life is successful if I can live each day with a positive outlook, have a feeling of contentment with my circumstances, have balance in all the important areas of my life, and have the time and resources to pursue what I am passionate about.”
(Marcia Becker, PhD, senior director of Adult Rehabilitative and Rural Services)
10. “Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”
Rather powerful definitions of success, wouldn’t you agree?
These quotes brought on a smile.
“God gave us two ends: one to sit on and one to think with. Success depends on which one you use. Heads you win; tails, you lose.”
“Seventy percent of success in life is showing up.”
And finally, some good advice.
“An Unfailing Success Plan: At each day’s end write down the six most important things to do tomorrow; number them in order of importance, and then do them.”
“Act as though it is impossible to fail.”
What is YOUR definition of success—the mindset and process that keeps you moving on track each day?