As part of my coaching course, one of my essays was to define success. In my research, I found there were the usual dictionary definitions:
- the accomplishment of an aim or purpose
- the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame
- the correct or desired result of an attempt
However, I also found that for those who had achieved success, success had become something more than the accumulation of money. Think about it. If the only measure of success is wealth, then:
- How rich do you have to be to be considered to be successful?
- Is someone who inherits vast wealth successful by default?
So, to me, success is more than the accumulation of wealth.
The next thing I looked at was success in terms of the completion of a goal. I have set myself 100 goals for 2016. Some involve simply watching certain movies. Am I a success because I set the goal of watching the new Star Wars movie, and saw it at the cinema? Of course not, completing a goal in of itself does not make me a success.
So, how do you define success?
Well let me give you an example of when I considered myself successful, and the reasoning behind this. One of my goals for 2016 was to do a zipline in the Bahama’s. This was already booked, so in reality should be fairly easy to achieve. However, I am seriously scared of heights. Part of this fear involves being in a vehicle going up a mountain, where there is very little between you and the mountain below. Simply going up to the zip line is a rickety taxi, going up hills along thin roads was a serious challenge for me. It took a LOT for me even to get into the taxi, up the hill and to the site of the zip line. However, after giving myself a serious talking to (in part helped by reading Chris Hadfield‘s book – that guy faced death on a daily basis, and developed a really cool attitude to it!), I made it to the first zip line.
In preparation for this, I actually did a very short zip line on the cruise ship we were on, so I was less afraid. My biggest fear, after reaching the first zip line, was quite simply not looking stupid when landing! So here I am, on the 2nd in a series of 6 zip lines at the Tree Limin’ Extreme Zipline…
And here’s the view in front!
So, for me, I was successful in completing this goal for several reasons:
- it was a challenge
- it required me to face a fear, so required a certain amount of courage to do
- I said I would do it, and I did, thus living up to my value of integrity
- once I completed this goal I was quite jubilant, not just happy!
On my course, I came to the conclusion that for me, being successful involved being able to do the things that brought me joy. It’s not simply about being happy, it is about being more than that. Success is also not just about achieving my goals, it’s about:
- living a life according to my values and life purpose
- being joyful
- challenging myself to be more than I thought, and so fulfilling my true potential
So I have to ask: when you think about success, what do you think of? Wealth and fame, or is it something else? I’d love to hear what you think.
Take care for now