What Does Success Look Like?

“Success!” This term has a meaning all its own, doesn’t it?  Isn’t it also hard to define?  What does success mean to you?  It could mean everything from raising your kids to be upstanding contributing citizen when they get older, creating the next big internet craze, to just having the finest things in life.  You and I both need to know just what success is, or we won’t be able to pursue and find it.

In logical and digital systems, like computers, the term success is an easy one to define.  It simply means that you have accomplished a specified goal.  You have done something you set out to do.  This simple definition gets really cloudy when you attach it to humans in a social context, because we want everything!  The word success becomes a puzzle that we can’t quite define, yet we know what it looks like, right?

Think about it.  How does successful person look?  How do they dress? Where do they live?

Think, you’ve got it nailed, huh?  Then what can you tell me about Warren Buffett, revered as one of the richest men in the World, yet still lives in his old neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska.  He still drives a ’94 Lincoln Town Car.

We find that success in its social application, still means the “attainment or achievement of a queue or list of specific goals.”  So, why do we consider some people successful when others (who have attained certain goals) we consider to be unsuccessful?

We consider people successful because we align ourselves with the goals they have attained.  The things they worked so hard to get, are the same things that we want and therefore we consider them successful, because they have things we also want.

We consider the people who have a, healthy & vibrant relationships, financial freedom, a house and land, luxury car, stellar academic credentials, power & influence, successful because they achieved we have set as goals for ourselves.

The key is you had the choice in which goals you aligned yourself with.  You are in charge of your definition of success because success is subjective.  This means, your definition of success will be different from someone else’s and is exclusive to you.  Whether success is:

  • Climbing Mount Everest
  • Getting a pilot’s license
  • Starting a business
  • Raising future leaders
  • Winning the admiration of those closest to you
  • Becoming a Millionaire

You are in control of your own definition of success.  This places a new sense of responsibility on you because now you have to come up with your own definition of success.  Why?  Because you need to know what success looks like to you, if you’re going to find it.  A great tool that I use whenever I begin coaching a client is the Wheel of Life.  It will help to give you a snapshot of what success looks like to you.  Once you see it, go after it!

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11 years ago

To me, success looks like happiness. Are we to live with the very narrow definition that success means money and power? To me, success means being happy with who you are and what you do.

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