What Does Success Mean to You?


What does success mean? You have to figure it out.

What does success mean to you? This big and elusive question is personal, but it is often asked in a job interview so your hiring manager can get an idea of how you think.

Have you ever really thought about what success means? If you haven’t given the meaning of success much thought, or think success is out of reach, this article can help.

What Does Success Mean to You?

You have to be clear on what does success mean to you.

Step 1. Get Clear About What You Want.

The first step is to clarify your thoughts, goals and desires. You can’t work towards something when you aren’t sure what the end result will be. 

Success is defined in the dictioary, but it means many different things to different people. Many people measure success in money, but there are other areas of success that you can measure.

You can be successful in one area and fail at others, that’s OK. You have to define and prioritize which areas you most want to succeed in.

To achieve overall success in life, you’ll want to examine your priorities in each area.

Assess 3 Basic Areas of Success: Career, Emotional, Health

For most of us, there are 3 main areas of success. You may have other areas that you want to include in your plan, but these are a good place to start.

Career — What does success mean when it comes to your work? Answer the following questions to get an idea of your current level of success.

  • Are you happy with your career?
  • Do you desire a higher status position?
  • What amount of income would make you happy?
  • Would you simply like to feel appreciated by your boss?

Emotional — What does success mean when it comes to your emotional health? This aspect may become more of a priority with social distancing and fears about the coronavirus effects on your job and health.

These questions can assess your emotional success so far:

  • Are you satisfied with your relationships? Why or why not?
  • What have you learned so far that could help you do better in the future?
  • If you have children, do you feel successful in how you’re raising them?

Health — What does success mean when it comes to your physical and mental health? Are you doing everything you can for your overall well-being?

Maybe a change in diet and exercise is in order. If success means exercising 30 minutes a day for 5 days and cutting soda out of your life, that is success. If you run 10 miles a day and have a piece of cheesecake once a week to celebrate, that’s success.

Take a moment to evaluate whether you’ve achieved success in this area or if there’s room for improvement.

If your health can use a boost, make a plan to start implementing changes in your daily routine that lead to a healthier lifestyle.

Step 2. Embrace Your Journey to Success

You have to figure out what does success mean to you not someone else.

Your journey to success will have highs and lows throughout your life.

There will be mistakes and disappointments. You may experience a setback at some point.

The beauty is that you can get back on track and move closer to your goals at any time.

  • You may achieve new levels of success at different times in your life and career. As you progress in your job, start a family, and get involved in giving back to your community, your definition of success may change, as do your priorities. Go with the flow; it’s okay for your outlook on life and your meaning of success to change over time.
  • Love what you do! Life is too short to be stuck doing something you despise. To achieve success in life, work with what you’ve got. Focus on your strengths and interests and do the things that bring those to the forefront of your life.
  • Challenges and obstacles are opportunities for further success. Everyone has setbacks at some point in their lives. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be human. The successful individual has the confidence that he can and will do better!

Every so often, it’s very important to step back and re-evaluate your idea of success.

There are so many changes in life and with each one you’ll find that your priorities change also.

Never underestimate the power that comes from persistence and experience.

Download Your Success Planner

Action Step

Evaluate the different areas of your life. Establish your priorities. What does success look like to you in each of these areas?

Success Affirmations

  • I judge my success by my own standards.
  • Outside influences rarely determine my success.
  • I set my own measurement for how well I do in life.
  • I know that the easiest way to feel unfulfilled is living my according to the expectation of others.
  • I live an authentic life that I am able to confidently stand behind.
  • I know that there is a time and season for each experience in life.
  • I give attention to my own goals and work hard to achieve them.
  • The noise from outside influences rarely gets me to lose focus.
  • The experiences of others sometimes serve as teaching tools.
  • I am unfazed by the achievements of others.
  • I avoid comparing myself to others.

Tracey Lamphere

Tracey Lamphere, M.S. IMC is the editor of Job Affirmations, a publication that provides information and ideas to use mindfulness, positive affirmations, and visualizations to transform your career.

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