Every time the word success comes up I often wonder what it looks and feels like to different people.
I know what it feels like to me, and it involves so much more than dollar signs. Maybe this has to do with the fact that my parents always made sure I had a roof over my head and food on the table, even when things were not going as well financially as they had been. Yes, obviously I need to make enough money to support, sustain, create and actually stay in business. Yes, I want it to be profitable. But not in the huge escalation that other businesses want. I completely respect that mentality and believe that if I started entrepreneurship earlier on in my life, I would have been more in that mindset.
I asked the entrepreneurs in my life this question and I got some excellent answers:
Elizabeth Fullerton, Boldfaced Design: It’s not terribly original, but my definition of success is to make a comfortable living doing what I love. In my case, I help people under extraordinary pressure show off their unique vision and voice. And my definition is definitely location agnostic — I love that I’m typing this at a coffee shop between meetings! xo
Melanie Curtis, Coach, Speaker, Author: Success to me is a life of love, hilarity, courageous contribution, and honest and real relationships that make our lives. Making a real difference in this world and feeling deeply fulfilled in life comes from living in action aligned with what we value at our core. Make your life and relationships reflect your deepest values and you will know your own deepest success.
Donna Maria Coles Johnson, Indie Business Network: Proactive and sustained movement toward a specific goal. Doing this enhances business and personal life, it does not take away from it. What does take away from business and personal life is having no goals or vision, or having goals and not making proactive and sustained progress toward achieving them.
Never give up, but as you go, remember that if you set a goal, you either have to make progress toward it or remove it from your list. Being lukewarm toward it sets you up for the opposite of success where that goal is concerned.
I’ve done both, and I’ve learned that lukewarm effort gets you lukewarm results.
Jennifer Waller, Celtic Complexion: The definition of success to me is freedom. Freedom to do what I want, when I want, with the people I want to be with. Everything goes through my “freedom filter”: Will this action enhance or hinder me? I put everything I do into my freedom filter (business and personal).
Angela Carillo, Alegna Soap: Success to me is having enough and being grateful for it. When I’m grateful for what I have it becomes enough. Success has nothing to do with money and everything to do with attitude. We are all successful, but only some of us know it.
Suzanne Kaltbaum, Photographer/Artist, Suzannk Digital Creations: Success is all around. That kid making the basket for the first time. The driver getting his/her first car. Proud parents who are watching their child walk across the graduation stage. The student, walking across that same stage to their future. With each step we take, with each action we make, we aim for success.
It’s in those big things and all the little things along the way. It’s the click of my camera when I get the shot! Angles, lighting, composition, and the object of the film. Nailing the shot. I’m passionate therefore I am successful. When I get that shot and showcase my work, I’m successful. If you are so wrapped up in the fun you are having – creating, achieving, dreaming…you are successful.
Be defined by your own goals and dreams. Don’t let anyone say you can’t, because you can. If you have other obligations, family, or work or otherwise, you will find the time to make your dreams your reality, as I have made mine – capturing life and art from behind the lens.
Jamie Herzlich, Newsday Small Business Reporter: My definition of success is doing something you love on a daily basis and being able to make a living at it. It never interferes with my existing life or business because for the past two decades that’s exactly what I’ve been able to do.
Olaf K, a CTO at a global NGO: Success is having the luck to stumble upon the right things at the right time, putting your energy into it, and being able to walk away from it with a deeply felt feeling of accomplishment. As you can see it is a result, not a driver.
It is about the intuition of what you want to spend your energy on. I’ve been lucky with my intuition and the things I stumbled on.
Diane McMillan, LMT: Success to me means something completely different than it did years ago. It is the ability to see past your ego self and live through your heart. Thinking this way about success has improved my life and my approach to massage therapy in general. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Chad Lewis, Peak Nano Systems: Success to me is an ever-morphing concept. It has its roots in a stream of successful transactions that build upon one another to fulfill our business objectives.
It grows through engagement with customers who have the lightbulb moments that they are about to crush their competition using our technology and the excitement spreads throughout their organization.
Its pinnacle (for me at least) is my wife saying she is proud of what we are accomplishing. Few things in life give me greater joy than this.
But it most definitely isn’t a prize to be grasped or a destination to land upon. It is waking up each morning knowing that I am one day smarter and that we still have massive goals to obtain. The ultimate definition for success is that feeling when you wake up each morning ready to rip apart the day because the unquenchable drive inside is still burning for the goals that are in front of you that overshadow all of the fears, failures, and futility behind you.
At least that is what it is for me.
And then I even got a suggestion to watch this YouTube video by Sadhguru
And then more great answers came in:
Dr. Amy J, Positive Energy: Success for me is the ability to overcome obstacles, find the serenity within, and experience it. Success is accepting with contentment where I am in all aspects of my life and who I am. In addition, creating space to grow, and increase awareness and possibility.
Accomplishment for me has always defined success, with the power of being able to melt away the wiring of what expectations and pressures were put on me. I realized success is what is…that’s right…what is!
If sharing this created an opportunity for you to stop, pause, think, and just be…Then I feel I have just accomplished Success.
Peter Syme,1000 Miles Journeys: Success to me = Being Happy. If I am happy I am successful. Also, I do not have a business and personal life I just have a life.
Kayla Fioravanti, Entrepreneur, Author, Kayla Fioravanti, and Selah Press: What does success mean to me? Success in my eyes is being able to focus on what is most important to me in life, my family. It’s owning a business that allows the flexibility in my life to be fully available and invest in the lives of my kids. It is working beside my husband towards a common goal. It means having a system in place that can keep the business rolling forward even if I need to hit pause for a moment to take care of urgent family matters. Success is flexibility. It is being able to throw my whole self into helping others create their own dreams without sacrificing my motto of family first.
Havona Madama, Kids Klass: Success to me equals being present in all aspects of my life.
James Fletcher, Alta Pete: Success = balance in all aspects of my personal and professional life
Jennifer Wojcieski, In2ition Mercantile: It took some time for me to answer that question for myself through self-realizations. Success is creating a balance in life between work and play. Being able to remain true to your purpose in life, enjoying your work and knowing when work time is over for the day, and having downtime to re-energize and take care of yourself.
Up until recent months, there was a huge imbalance in my life between work and play. By putting forth an intention to achieve balance, I have begun to focus much more clearly on specific goals. I am taking on projects that align with my purpose and saying no to others that would divert me from this path. This has allowed me to put some more time into myself and my family as well as providing my clients with the absolute best service.
Tyler Jorgenson, Four Sail: Success is living the lifestyle you want with the people you want.
I love how different it is for everyone, and yet somehow similar. Success may have many definitions, but if you are living yours, you have already reached the top!
And my own version is something like this:
For me, it’s about the people. And the relationships. It is the wonder of it all when I realize where I started and where I am now. I never have wanted, nor want to be the fastest, the biggest, the brightest, or the best. I just like to set out goals and complete them. For example, I have been taking drum lessons since 2003 and to this day, I still can’t read drum sheet music. What I can do, however, is crank up my favorite tune, sit down at the kit, and not embarrass myself as I bang away some semblance of the actual drum line. It makes me so happy. I have been inline skating for 23 years and I will never be the fastest, nor the most graceful. The cool thing is that I don’t care, so long as I get to the end of the trail. And I do. I even let my brother make it to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Inca Trail before me. 🙂
When I think about the fact that I had an idea and I got to watch it nurture and grow, especially all the years with my sister, I have already had success. When I think about the love of my family and friends. I already have success. When I think of the relationships that have come from my business and my customers, I have even more success. Yes I still have plenty of work to do and many more milestones along the way, but I am grateful for my own version of this success game. And it just feels right to keep doing it that way!
So, how about you? What is your idea of success? How does it complement your life and business?