How Do You Define Success?

How Do You Define Success?






“What does success look like?” I often ask my members when they are discussing a problem, challenge or opportunity.  During my last Peer Advisory Board meetings, I asked my members to reflect on their lives and careers and share their “big picture” definitions of success.  Here are their answers:

  1. The health of my family keeps moving in a direction of pursuing their goals.
  2. Setting a vision, writing a plan and enjoying the results of the plan (vision).
  3. Being at peace with my decisions and impact on others.
  4. If you want a successful career, you must build a loving family.
  5. Balance faith, family, and career, and focus on others.
  6. Helping others reach their goals.
  7. To live by the Golden Rule and consistently treat others as you would want to be treated.
  8. Leaving the world a little bit better place.
  9. Putting my head on my pillow at the end of the day with no regrets.
  10. Striving to be better.
  11. Living life without regret or the need to prove something.
  12. A happy and comfortable balance between personal and work life.
  13. What you become (progression to a goal), not what you have.
  14. When I die, I want someone to say, “He was a good man.”
  15. Fully actualized and comfortable.
  16. Life without regret.
  17. Achieving the goals/expectations I have set for myself.
  18. How others (the world) look at me.
  19. Living a legacy of love and generosity.
  20. Setting high goals and expectations in business and life, then accomplishing them.
  21. Having great friends and family that trust me. That is a sign of integrity.
  22. Being independent financially, emotionally and in thinking.
  23. Having made someone’s life better through my influence or example.
  24. Raising a successful and happy family that is financially independent at all generational levels.
  25. The ability to live life the way you want to live it.
  26. Spend my time the way that I want to.
  27. Thriving through all the ups and downs, challenges and opportunities that life throws my way.
  28. Watching others around me grow and flourish, allowing me time to enjoy my family.
  29. Personal peace and happiness. Happiness is living without fear.
  30. To be a devoted and supportive husband and father. To contribute in a significant way to our work team and contribute to my community in a substantial way.
  31. When people around me are growing, improving and enjoying it.
  32. To be able to choose to do what I love to do, with people I care for.
  33. In business it means defining a problem, a goal to solve the problem and achieving the goal.  In life, practicing my faith and supporting my family.
  34. Provide for my family and have the ability to continue supporting throughout my life.
  35. Financial and personal fulfillment from setting goals and achieving them.
  36. Achieving my goals.
  37. Exceeding my personal and professional goals to reach a state of happiness.
  38. Experiencing happiness and love with my family and friends. Achieving my business goals while working with a team that I respect.
  39. To live, laugh and love throughout my life.
  40. Exceeding all expectations (mine and others).
  41. Whatever it is that lightens your soul, makes you happy and allows you to sleep better at night.
  42. Talent in right roles to create a win-win-win (employees ècompany èr). No compromise.
  43. Set realistic goals and objectives, and facilitate the actions to achieve them.
  44. When everything is in sync: work, family and me.
  45. Success is happiness.
  46. A happy and vibrant family life and a successful and fulfilling work life.
  47. When everyone is as satisfied as I am.
  48. Knowing that I have not left anything on the table with anything that I do. High integrity in everything I do. Leading through a positive example in work and home.
  49. Success is helping others succeed while, at the same time, being financially rewarded for it.
  50. I want to grow up and be just like Dad, in every way.

After listening to all my members’ definitions of success, I solidified my own: “to live and love freely without regret.”

Stephen Covey is famous for saying “Start with the end in mind”.  I challenge you to do the same. Imagine sitting on your porch at age 100 and reflecting on how and why your life has been successful and meaningful. How did you define success? Think about it and feel free to share it here.

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1 thought on “How Do You Define Success?”

  1. Bob Fritz says:

    I am surprised at these definitions. From the age of 7 until my late ’60s I defined success as doing better than my peer group as measured by something that could be quantified. We collected insects and I had the best collection (article in the PD, in fact). In the boy scouts I was senior patrol leader. I took up target shooting and was the Ohio Junior Champion. I became interested in astronomy and was president of the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association. I attended the best engineering and science university I could find (except I was scared to go as far as MIT), became President of the Council of Fraternity Presidents, and graduated with honors. Seeking an MBA, I obtained a fellowship at the then-best university offering such a degree. Later, I resolved to earn $30K by the time I was 30 years old (half that would have been a good salary in those days).

    Later I resolved to make my company the largest electronic technology based company in NE Ohio and, with the help of Reliance going out of business and Keithley going in the dumpers, I did that. Finally I sold the company for a lot of money.

    I once read where Genghis Khan asked what was the best thing to have in the world. His subordinate answered, “A clear day, a fine horse, and a falcon to start up hares.” The Khan answered, “Nay. To crush your enemies, see them flee, and destroy their possessions. That is best.” On a scale of 1 to 10, I am about 7.5 in the Khan’s direction.

    Now I’m “out of business” and the adjustment has not been easy. Now my definition is to make my family happy and content, to be financially secure (which I am), to dabble in consulting (NC Angel Fund, JumpStart mentor), and to understand all of nature and the sciences. Just because I want to do it. I hope (may not happen) to endow a Chair of Cosmology at Carnegie Mellon University in a few years. That’s my definnition of immortality.

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