Just as life is what you make of it, success is how you define it. Success is not a thing and it is not a finish line, it is a state of mind. Once you have it you can lose it much more easily than you achieved it. The good news is that you can get it back, and your definition of success will evolve as you grow older. Life becomes much more about the journey than the destination, being at peace with who you are, how you do things, how you treat people, and how many people you have helped become the people they want to be. The value of my words will be in sharing with you what success "is not" more than what it is, and how anyone reading this blog can achieve it.
Success is not (and does not):
- A Thing – it is yours to define. Define it for yourself, reach it, redefine it often, be happy when you reach it, enjoy each journey to it, be proud of how you got there, and let it enrich and not define your happiness (because if you “get it” you will be chasing different versions of it your entire life).
- Define You– it may be where you aspire to be, however, not “being there” does not define what you have (or can be) accomplished in your life
- A 4.0, or a Degree from any Institution— Those are accomplishments, and they may well open doors for you, but in today’s world you need to knock down doors and/or build your own doors along the path to realizing your dreams.
- Money— this one seems obvious, but many people still see it as the ultimate goal. Money can help you open doors for yourself and others, but it does not define success.
- A Job Title— there are many CEOs and Ph.Ds, Surgeons, Lawyers, Actors, etc. who, quite frankly, are idiots, and unhappy, and make others unhappy on a daily basis.
- Being a CEO or Billionaire by 25— if that happens for you good for you, buy a lottery ticket. What are you going to do with the rest of your life? The 99.99999% of the other people for whom this does not happen, how do you allow not meeting this goal impact you? This is not a failure.
- Being “Better” than Someone Else— you should worry about your own success, and not define your success and self-worth relative to someone else. Yes, someone else’s achievements can motivate you, but they should not define you in any way.
- Easy– no matter you define it, it takes work. If it does not then it is time to redefine your definition of success.
- A Solo Journey– you will need help, so do not be afraid to ask for it.
- Achieved without Failure– anything worth achieving will involve failures as along the way
I will share with you some common characteristics of people I have had the pleasure of meeting in my life that have achieved success on many different levels:
- Treat business colleagues the same whether they are a CEO or cleaning the restrooms
- Treat everyone they encounter in life with respect
- Realize their achievements are the result of collaboration and the inspiration of others in addition to their own hard work
- Have passion for what they do, and how they do it
- Know how to really listen
- Are inspiring without even trying
- Learn from failure
- Allow others to fail and grow from failure
- Embrace those who challenge them
- Are great teammates as well as leaders
- Know who they are, and own it
In closing, I few of my favorite quotes that I look to during my journey to achieve how I currently define my own success:
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin
“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs