The Definition of Success

by Karen Keller, Ph.D.

We are now redefining the meaning of success – on our terms. We’re giving it a much needed makeover. Well-defined success factors or keys to success are important to our identity, our sense of accomplishment and our total acceptance of our success.

People have defined success, particularly business success, according to other people’s rules. We need to challenge the, “This-is-my-measuring-stick-and-it-can’t-be-broken,” mentality that we have lived with for too long. We’re breaking the stick. No longer do we have to accept success as a financial number, a career position or a number of years on the job.

The process of defining success can be a rich journey or it can be a path laden with indecision and uncertainty. Success is a journey with peaks and valleys, setbacks and mistakes, achievement and disappointment.

How you define success is actually your key to success. Here is a process to help you reach clarity on your definition of success.

Find Your Balance. Anything in excess is not a good thing. Too much money, power, and sugar can result in a huge ego, unfounded expectations, or high blood pressure. In creating your success definition remember that there is always a payoff.

In starting and building your business from the ground up are you willing to sacrifice the time away from your family required to do it? Will you lose sight of your goal because of deficits in another area of your life?

Know Your Altruistic Values. What is important to you outside of yourself? How will your actions affect your friends, the community, and the world beyond? Is what you are doing or who you are contributing to others? Is it moral? Is it righteous?

If you are willing to sacrifice your integrity to attain a goal, you might achieve your goal but you will not be a success. Keep in mind that at different times in your life you will have different definitions of success. Sometimes women get caught up in one goal and define their life around that goal. When there are really multiple stages of success throughout your life.

What you found to be a feeling of great success while attending college may not be the same as when you are holding your granddaughter.

Success is a determination of what you value at a certain time in your life. It’s evident in how you think, feel and breathe. Are your desires in the forefront or do you help for the sake of helping, regardless of great personal sacrifice? The only gauge of that is in your soul.

Develop Your Character. What you speak comes from your heart. It’s your internal qualities that drive real success. If you are deplete, not possessing a honorable, high quality character built on integrity, honesty and selflessness, you will never attain the true success that could be yours.

A dictionary can give you a definition of success, but real success is only determined by you – based on your needs, wants, integrity, values and beliefs. Your definition of success begins with your character. Being authentic is being true to your belief system and your guiding principles.

What will your definition of success be? It could be a money goal, lifestyle change, good health, or use of time. It can be just about anything but you will need to dig deep and do some serious soul searching to discover what success means to you.

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