Success is such a complicated and often loaded word in our society. Mostly it is equated with having achieved a certain status at work and a certain level of money. But the truth is that success is just a word and regardless of what society views as success, what is more important is what makes you feel fulfilled and successful in your own terms. The question really should be, “What does success mean to you?” Once you gain clarity around what success means to you, you will be better equipped to set goals and priorities for what you want to do in your life. Here are some questions to answer for yourself as you explore your personal meaning of success. And if you don’t like the word success, you can always substitute personal satisfaction or fulfillment or whatever works for you.
From your own perspective, what does success look like? Including details about concrete items like owning or leasing of such big-ticket items like housing and car is important. And just as important, how do you feel when you are successful? Perhaps it will turn out that your feelings around success are less aligned with the financials or what kind of car you have than you had previously thought.
Turning to work, does your definition of success require a certain title? No judgment if your version of success does or doesn’t include a work status. The key is to explore if having a big title is what you truly want. If title isn’t important, then you can cross off your list and move on to other items. If success does include a big title, ask yourself what that title gives you? Satisfaction? Joy? Recognition? What about how much you enjoy the work? Because it is probably not just about a higher salary attached to a big title, though that may matter to you as well.
So then ask yourself, does success require a certain amount of money? If yes, what is the dollar goal? Thinking about your financial needs and wants is a very important process. Money can’t buy you love. Yet having some financial security is important and understanding just how much money you do need to feel successful will help you to make the right choices that support those needs. Success doesn’t have to mean luxury cars and homes—or it might. What is important is whether those things truly bring you joy.
As you consider what success means to you, think about your relationships, family and don’t forget to think about your health and wellness. To be living a fulfilling and rich life filled with love and kindness and good health is a success from my vantage point and one that I wish for everyone. But the devil is in the details as they say and the details are different for everyone. The more you understand what your priorities are in life, the clearer you can steer yourself towards personal success. And if you have a life partner, it is important to share your views on what a successful life looks like. While your personal goals may differ, understanding and aligning your family priorities will go a long way towards creating a successful life together.