Definition of Success

Success is a word (and judgement) we throw around constantly.

“They’re successful.”  “I’m not successful enough.” “Is your business successful?” “How successful are they?”  “I just want to be successful.”

Starting two businesses within the same year, this idea of “success” is something I think about a lot. When I started my flower crown business, I said that if I could make at least 10 people in the next year happy through the art of flower crown making, that would be a success.

Why that target? Because that’s why I started that service. To ignite joy in others, help people get more connected to nature, and express their creativity. I wasn’t trying to create an empire within the first year of business, rather test out an idea.

And I’m happy to say, I have certainly hit that measure of success (and then some). And what does that do? It created a really positive mindset for me that I had a goal and I achieved it. It was a measure of success that was authentic to me, realistic, and honestly, even a stretch (I wasn’t sure if anyone was going to want to have flower crown parties!)

But someone else might believe if I’m not able to pay my monthly bills with the earnings from the business, then it’s not a success. But that’s their definition of success, not mine. And that my friend, does not concern me, that’s for them to worry about.

According to Merriam-Webster, the dictionary definition of success is “a favorable or desired outcome; degree or measure of succeeding.”

Stop and think about it for a minute… what is YOUR definition of success? For your career or for your life? What is actually true for you, not just what you have internalized from expectations in our society or in your family?

We all have a conscious or subconscious definition of success that impacts our mindset and sense of self-worth.  

Your definition of success could be...

  • How much money you make

  • Your position at work

  • How many degrees you have or your level of education

  • How much time you spend working

  • How many miles you can run

  • All the stuff you have (home, car, gadgets, etc)

Or it could be things like…

  • How happy, healthy, or satisfied you feel

  • The impact you have on other people and your community

  • Raising well-functioning little humans

  • Doing your personal best every day

It could be anything! I’m not here to tell you what’s right, wrong, or true for you. That’s what YOU need to do. My invitation is to be conscious about it.

If you're feeling disappointed or unsatisfied about where you are in life, it’s worth taking 10 minutes to sit down and really think about what your definition of success is.

Imagine running a race that had clear finish line. Then imagine you’re running a race and different people had different ideas of your finish line, and that was different from what you thought the finish line was, or maybe you never even thought about it. You would just keep running and running unsure if you were “winning” or “losing”. That sounds exhausting, confusing, and a little reckless.

I hate to compare life to a race (because I don’t think it is) but the point is, you should know what success is for you so you can check the box, learn lessons, and get your shit done.

Why does that matter?

Achieving goals and having “success” has a huge impact on your mindset, which impacts your beliefs, and ultimately your actions. If you keep feeling like you aren't successful, that has a catabolic (draining) impact on your energy that will lead to actions that keep you “small”.

If you feel like you’re achieving success, that also has a ripple effect where you build confidence and take more action, growing the anabolic (productive) energy in your life.

So, now what?

You could consider what your definition of success is for your life (which can feel super intimidating and meta), so maybe just think about a goal you have underway or upcoming… what is YOUR true definition of success for that part of your life?

Write it down. Come back to it in whatever time frame you think is appropriate. See if you were “successful”, and if you feel like you weren’t, what did you learn?

This is a sure way to gain more momentum in life versus feeling like a failure or stagnating.

As a coach, this is a key step I take with my clients so we can create an action and accountability plan to get there. You’ll be growing and learning no matter what :)

Set yourself up for success. Define your finish line. And let me know what some of your definitions of success are for different areas of your life. Email me or comment on the blog!