What Success Looks Like: 13 Personal Definitions of Success

April 5, 2020
Posted in journey
April 5, 2020 Terkel

Consultant: What’s success to you?

It’s a really good question. I think success is being able to earn a living by doing what you really enjoy. To me, that’s success. Success is being able to feed your children. Success is being able to live in a place that you’re comfortable. Success is being able to constantly learn from people that you meet every single day. Success is finding your place in this world where you feel that you can make a contribution.

Banjo Player: It’s not totally fair. The best bands don’t always rise to the top. You see bands that have ridiculous success, and they’re not the most skilled genius musicians out there.

Silicon Valley Entrepreneur: Very exciting for a lot of people, not very exciting for us. That sort of deep sadness that ultimately what we wanted to do, in spite of all the external success we had, we couldn’t do. That was disturbingly depressing. I’m just excited to be able to do it right this time.

Boxing Trainer: I’ve had some good talent to work with. One world champion. I’ve had four boxers box for professional world titles. I’ve had two national amateur champions. I’ve had two world kickboxing champions. And a lot of good fighters in between. So I’ve had a pretty successful career.

HR Manager: It’s funny. Most things that are very successful are not real complicated.

CEO: If you’re just looking to be an entrepreneur and get rich, or looking to be a successful guy, that’s not very motivating every day. In the end, that’s a nice endpoint to be at. Sure, I’d like to sell a company and make a million. But, it’s hard to get there and if you don’t enjoy doing the shit work, you won’t get there.

We definitely felt like doing this idea was worth it as a non-successful idea. Even if it was mildly successful it was still worth it. Even if no one else knew about it, and it was just us, we would have done it. And that’s the difference.

Life Coach: You start with that picture of your life. Who would be in it? What would your home be like? Where would you live? How much money would you be making? How would you be working? All that stuff, regardless of what you would actually be doing.

Mechanic: I mean, one way I look at it, this is the American Dream. The guy that was on the floor wrenchin’. He built his own business, has a family. I got two kids, they’re both in the Navy. My wife, she’s doin’ her art stuff and it’s the American Dream. That’s how I look at it.

Hotel General Manager: However you get there is cool. It’s up to you. But as long as we’re all going in the same direction, toes and our feet are pointed that way, then you can’t help but be successful.

Venture Capitalist: You know that it’s not easy. You know that success is not a given, but you also have the confidence that you can be successful and you’re willing to go for it.

Real Estate Mogul: You just have to look forward and drive on and succeed according to whatever success means to you. For me it means being excellent at what you do. It means being competitive. Being in the top 5 at something. If you’re a company in the XYZ industry you’re a top 5 company or you’re in the top 5%. Customers like your product. They like your employees. That, for me, is success.

Consultant: We have to figure out what success means to us. Not what our parents told us. A lot of our parents told us that we should become an accountant, a lawyer, or a doctor. Let’s figure out what success means for ourselves.

Certainly, it’s about money. I want to make money just like everyone else. But if we never get to that pot of gold, it can’t only be about money. I tell people that we have to set a money plus goal. I think that you need to think about your own goals. What does success mean to you is really important.

Success isn’t just money. It can’t be just measured in that. Let’s not buy into everyone else’s dreams.

Author: This woman writes in and says, ‘I read your book. I went into work and I got a raise.’ To me, that’s the goal. That’s when I think it helps to define what success means to you. Not what it’s supposed to mean in the context of whatever you’re doing.

Hip Hop Artist: You put all those things together and it equals out…sometimes a success, sometimes a starving artist. You know what I mean.