What does success mean to you?

Thrive Market

“Success? I don’t know what that word means. I’m happy. But success, that goes back to what in somebody’s eyes success means. For me, success is inner peace. That’s a good day for me.” Denzel Washington

As we start nearing the end of the year we start to think about what we have accomplished in the past twelve months and what new goals or new year resolutions we are going to set for ourselves in the coming year.

Whilst reflecting on this, I think it is important to define what success means to you. Having a clear definition in your mind will help you to be more focused on what is really important to you.  Is your definition of a successful life in alignment with your goals?

Success means different things to different people. There are no right or wrong answers as it is individual to everyone.

Subjective and objective success 

Success can be objective or subjective. The Harvard Business Review gives a great example of how this can by applied in both professional and personal life.


Credit: Harvard Business Review

Success is different depending on what stage of life you’re at. For example, a child might deem success as being an A grade student or simply saving enough for a new bike. An adult might deem success as a comfortable retirement following a successful career. Therefore, success is ever changing depending on what stage you are at in life.

The dictionary defines success as achieving wealth, fame or love.

I believe success is being happy and healthy, living a balanced life, growing as a person and progressing your goals (afterall, as they say, success is not a destination but a journey).

Here are some thoughts that resonate with me on success:

Success is the freedom to live your life the way you want to and to do what you love everyday.

Success is being authentic and becoming the person you want to be.

Success means working towards my dreams. As long I keep moving in the right direction I feel successful.

Success is achieving and celebrating goals.

Success is living a balanced life. My work is meaningful. I spend time with and cherish magical moments with my loved ones. I like the person I have become. I enjoy physical health and have sufficient means to live in comfort.

And finally, but not that it means any less, being successful means I am able to help other people rather than worry about myself.

It’s taken me time to realize this but I can summarize by saying that success means happiness to me. I am working on something that makes me happy and I have people in my life who make me happy.  Elbert Hubbard thoughts on success probably resonate with me the best.  He said  “He has achieved success who has worked well, laughed often and loved much.”  

What does success mean to you? What does a successful life look like to you?  Getting clarity will help to ensure your goals are aligned with where you spend your time, resources and energy.

What Kids Can Teach You About Success – Inspiring 7 minute film on success

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