Liberate Yourself with a New Definition of Success

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What does success mean to you? Popular culture woos us into believing that success is all about fame, fortune and being at the pinnacle of our careers. We learn to equate popularity and wealth with success. But is it really? It may be one form of success, but is it the only type of success there is? Buying in to this notion of success can lead to sadness, discontent and lack of appreciation for your life’s journey.  

Success is Different for All of Us

I read an article in which the writer said that researchers asked men and women about their definition of success. They got a whole range of answers, and ‘those answers change over time’.

I agree, success should be defined differently for each of us. Even if we do buy in to the popular culture of success being about fame and money, when we really search ourselves we will realize that we possess our own ideas of what success is. We may be too afraid to explore those ideas because of perceived consequences – loss of status, being cast out of our social group or worse, our family. But, our life’s circumstances are different, our experiences and opportunities are different, so too are our values. We are all different. So then, why should success look the same for all of us?

Success is not static. Success is not a destination, a place to which we arrive. It is not linear.

Different Faces of Success

Is the single dad who raises two girls, and who reinvents himself after being scalded by the Covid19 pandemic, less of a success than the CEO who runs a company? Is the mother who, completes her high school education, finds herself a stable job, attends University while working full time and caring for her small children, all after becoming pregnant as a teenager, less of a success than the well-known business person or pop star?

If I attain what I believe to be success in my career, does that make me an overall success, even if I have neglected other areas of my life in which I am performing poorly? Is it possible to be successful in one area of our lives and unsuccessful in another? Heck yes! I may be a successful CEO but a horrible parent. I may be a successful manger, but I live only for the job, I do not take care of myself, I don’t eat regular meals, I barely get a good night’s sleep, I don’t exercise.

Unburdening Myself of the Old Idea of Success

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For many years I have bought into this narrow idea of what success is. For one year, I have had this idea for a blogpost written in my notebook. But never wrote it. Who am I to write about success? I am not a successful person? But I have realized that I needed to rethink what I believe success to be. I have had to look within and decide what success means to me. Not what it should mean, or what others say it means, but what means to me.

I have had to unburden myself of preconceived notions of success, handed to me by others. I want you to do the same. You are a success for just getting out of bed in the morning and facing the challenges of the day. You are a success if you have learnt from your failures and your mistakes, and used those lessons to become a better version of yourself. You are a success if you strive to be a little better every day.  You are a success if you seek not only to uplift yourself but to uplift others in any way that you can.

You are a success for practicing restraint when all you wanted to do was punch your boss in the face or when you wanted to scream at that co-worker. I may not be a manager or a CEO, but every day that I show up at my job, I give my very best at what I do, despite the very toxic working environment; a principle on which I pride myself, by the way. I declare that I am a success. Okay, I know what you are thinking, I am trying to oversimplify success. But why shouldn’t it be? Why should success belong only to the wealthy and famous? Or to those who have made grand and public achievements?

How Do You Define Success?

I have purposely chosen not to include a definition of success, the dictionary’s nor my own. Because I think of success as being fluid. As changing. As having as many faces as there are people. So again I ask you, what does success mean to you? How do you define success? Don’t have an answer? Here are some questions to ponder.

Who do you want to become?  How do you want to be remembered when you leave this life? What does the best version of you look like? What are your goals and aspirations? What are your gifts, your talents? What are you good at? What do you feel like you have been called to do? What inspires and energizes you?  Are you steadily moving in the direction of all of these things? 

Write the answers to all of these questions down in a journal or a piece of paper. Be as detailed as you possibly can. Maybe there are other questions that you can ask yourself that I have not listed here. Review your answers. Set your journal or paper aside and return to it in a day or two. Review the questions and your answers again, see if anything new comes up. Then pen your personal definition of success. The answers to all of these questions should filter into your personal definition of success.

Some Success Quotes

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Here are a few ideas which I find to be in alignment with how I have come to view success.

  • Success is a state of being. Achievement is something you reach, it comes when you pursue and attain what you want. Success comes when you are clear in pursuit of why you want it.” ~ From the book, Start with Why by Simon Sinek
  • Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal. ~ Earl Nightingale
  • “The secret to success in every field is redefining what success means to you. It can’t be your parent’s definition, the media’s definition or your neighbour’s definition. Otherwise success will never satisfy you.” ~   RuPaul

My two favourites:

  • Success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life, as by the obstacles which he has overcome. ~  Booker T. Washington.
  • Success is a peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming. ~ John Wooden.  

Closing Thoughts…

I would like for us to abandon the narrow, one size fits all idea of success that has been fed to us, and see that just as life is multifaceted so too is success. Just as we all differ, so does our innate idea of what success is, and that is okay. Our definition of success should be personal. Suited to who we are, to our life’s purpose, experiences and journey.

Finally, I have learned that there is no singular definition of success. I feel liberated!

Liberate Yourself With a New Definition of Success.

Thank you for visiting my blog. Feel free to use the comments section to tell me if this post resonated with you, or what are your thoughts on success. And don’t forget to share this with someone who you know can benefit from it.

Until next time ~ Namaste🙏

By Leona

Passionate is one of the best words that describe me! I usually put my all into whatever I am doing. I have a strong desire to speak, write, and to inspire others. This is is one of my first steps in fulfilling that desire.

6 replies on “Liberate Yourself with a New Definition of Success”

Thanks for sharing your perspective. It is great to realise that success is not a destination. To many times we have such a narrow focus of success and failure overwhelms us. When we take time to look at our values, not comparing ourselves to each other, we then gain a true vision of how awesome our lives can be while helping others.


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