Success! What’s your definition?

success image of hands holding a string of LED lights

Success. Everyone wants it, but can anyone truly define it? We’re told from a young age that success looks like a prestigious job, a big house, and a fancy car. Yet, something about those traditional measures of success often fails to bring true fulfillment. So, if the keys to success aren’t always about money and status, then what are they about? Let’s dive into the measures of success that truly matter.

The Problem with Traditional Measures

What truly matters to you?

For many, conventional measures of success like wealth, power, and social status fall into the category of external validation. This means the satisfaction they bring is often fleeting, dependent on the praise and opinions of others. While a promotion or a raise may feel good in the moment, the pursuit of ever-increasing material wealth and titles can lead to a continuous striving for something more, and an underlying sense that we’re never quite enough.

True, lasting success should come from an internal place.


Here are some powerful, intrinsically-motivated measures of success:

  • Happiness and Contentment: This doesn’t mean being happy every second of every day, but it does mean cultivating a general sense of well-being and contentment with where you are in life. Prioritize experiences, relationships, and activities that bring you genuine joy.
  • Personal Growth: Success means constantly learning, evolving, and becoming a better version of yourself. This could be through formal education, developing new skills, or simply embracing challenges and stepping outside your comfort zone.
  • Strong Relationships: Nurturing meaningful connections with friends, family, and your community is a vital hallmark of success. Invest time and energy into building solid relationships with people who love, support, and inspire you.
  • Living in Alignment with Your Values: When your actions and daily life reflect your core values, you create a sense of integrity and inner peace. Identify your values and make choices that honor them.
  • Making a Positive Impact: Leaving a legacy, whether on a small or large scale, is a deeply fulfilling aspect of success. Find ways to contribute to your community or make a difference in the world.

Practical Ways to Measure Success


So, how do you know if you are succeeding based on these internal measures?

Here are some ways to keep track:

  • Journaling: Regularly reflect on experiences that made you feel happy, your personal growth moments, positive contributions you’ve made, and decisions that reflect your values.
  • Goal Setting: Don’t just set goals around money, but around all areas of life—relationships, personal growth, health, etc. Track your progress.
  • Gratitude Practice: Actively cultivating gratitude helps you appreciate the positive things in your life, reinforcing contentment.
  • Celebrate Milestones: Don’t be caught in the trap of always aiming for what’s next. Acknowledge and celebrate the steps along the way, big and small.

The Importance of Self-Definition

Success is highly personal.  It’s about figuring out what matters most to you.  This requires breaking free from societal dictates, practicing self-awareness, and being willing to forge your own unique path.

Here are some questions to guide your introspection:

When do you feel the most fulfilled?

What activities or causes genuinely excite you?

What kind of person do you want to be?

What would you want people to say about you at your funeral?

It’s Not Linear

It’s important to remember that success isn’t a straight line. There will be setbacks, doubts, and course corrections. That’s normal! Embrace the journey, learn from the challenges, and remember that true success is found within.

Let Go of Comparisons

Comparing yourself to others is a surefire way to undermine your own sense of progress. Focus on your journey and the goals that matter to you. Your journey to success is unlike anyone else’s.

Success isn’t a destination; it’s an ongoing process of growth and a deep sense of fulfillment in the life you build for yourself. By redefining measures of success with an emphasis on happiness, personal development, relationships, values, and positive contributions, you set yourself on a path toward something far more meaningful than any external reward.


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Written by Drew Giffin

Marketing | Self improvement




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