What is your definition of success? Take a moment and try to give a short description of what it means to you to be successful. Could it be:

  • becoming financially independent
  • being a great parent
  • owning / running a company that makes money
  • working for myself
  • being happy
  • make a difference in this world

I’ve had my definition of success change quite a bit over the years. As my life changed be finishing school, or starting a job, or getting married or becoming a parent success’ meaning changed as well. AS I grew as a person and moved from one life-season to another being “successful” also changed.

There are however a few things I came to realize chasing after success. This has helped me view my definition of success as my own and not try and cover the world in my personal blanket of success, judging those that don’t conform.


1. Success is not happiness

There is a big difference between success and happiness and although success may lead to happiness, it ‘s usually then only temporary.

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. – Albert Schweitzer

Happiness is something more permanent, more consistent. It is a state of being that is as a result of multiple factors falling into place of which one is being successful.


2. Success is personal

Success is not a world series that needs to be won where everyone competes in by playing the same game with the same rules applying to everyone. Nope. Success is like a bunch of vastly different games being played with totally different rules each resulting in a type of success when being “won” by someone. My achievement of success may mean I finally broke my drug addiction. It may be becoming the CEO of a company, it may be getting my law degree or driving a big/fast car. The important thing to remember here is that success is different for everyone and your idea of success is not necessarily the same as the person next to you.


3. Success is like religion

As you start chasing after your idea of success you will come across people that have the same idea of what success is. But I guarantee you that you will meet even more people that’s on a different chase after a different idea of success that suits them. Just like religion you will have the people in your “church” that are running the same race by serving the same God. But there’s vastly more people outside of your church that serve a different God. The biggest mistake one can make is trying to get the people outside to run the same race you are by thinking/forcing/judging them for not seeing God the same as  you do.

Not all people want to drive a big car or live in a fancy house. Not all people want to go on constant vacations, work for themselves or become CEO’s. Not all people want to make difference or become financially independent. Let’s not think everyone out there WANTS to be the same as us by chasing after our definition of success.


4. Success is a journey

As mentioned at the beginning your definition of success will change as you grow older and change as a person. It is therefor important to know and identify a shift in your own definitions of success. You may be lucky enough to have achieved your success quite early on in your life but know that new ideas of success will come across and you will start to walk on a different path. Success is not something you achieve and complete like a tick on a to-do list. I absolutely love the below definition of success:

Peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you’re capable. – John Wooden

By doing your best and giving your best effort it implies that you will try again and again until you can do so. Those times will arise when you are not doing your best and achieving success will feel far away.


5. Success is many things

If this message has not come across strong yet then see this quote from Bessie Stanley:

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded – Bessie Stanley


I hope you can take value from this post and recognize that we each strive towards our own versions of success we are all on a different yet sometimes similar path.