What is success and does it apply to you?
He asked me a question about success and I paused for a moment to reflect on how I would answer a question which eluded to me being successful.
In truth, I am not sure if I am successful. Yes, I have material things. I have a business. I am building an empire, if you will albeit a very small one but significant in my space.
I often here people talking about how successful they are. I remember reading about Lisa Messenger winning a micro business award about 2 years back in the category of less than 4 employees, and then watching her feeds on Facebook about how successful she was and is. To her, success means something that is most probably different to anothers definition of success is, and no definition is right or wrong. It quite simply is what it means to you.
For me, in business, I feel that successful is a $10 million plus revenue with 20 percent more in profit owned by one person. So it a business is owned by 4 people, then $40 million would be my definition of success and so on. But that's my definition. There are more than a million people in Australia that would fit in Lisa's category and definition of "success" and if they feel it, then they should embrace it. For them, that may be their definition, and it is important for every person to define their own definition of success.
You may feel that my definition of business success is high, or for some people low. But it is my definition. I feel given my experience that achieving a multi million dollar turnover is easy to accomplish. What isn't easy is to take the jump when it's only you making all the key decisions based on your learnings and often gut feeling, to a eight-figure revenue with a profit of 20 percent or more. I put the disclaimer of profit due to the fact that a real estate agent or a advertising agency can achieve $10,000,000 in sales with one contract, and that's a huge coupe however, it's not my definition of success. Marrying it up with profitability is.
From a personal perspective, success to me is very different. Conquering being a good person 99 percent of the time is success. Stopping to smell the roses, or to give a few dollars to the homeless man on the road, acknowledging their hardship and actioning to do something about it, is success. Not being a capitalist and building wealth so that you can have the biggest home or the flashiest car or a private jet for that matter, is success. Giving all of your wealth away other than what is really needed by you, is success. All of these things mean that you have the freedom to do things that make our world a better place. Success is bringing up children that make a significant impact in the world they live in. Happiness is success. Achieving personal goals like getting fit, learning a language or going on an adventure that terrifies you is success.
A Ted Talk proclaimed that 'success can mean; feeling that tingle of excitement about what you do, sticking with what matters through hard times, living a life you can feel proud of in retrospect' is success.
An Inc Magazine article in 2012 stated that 'if you believe success is simply making (or having) a lot of money, you may be setting yourself up for failure'.
I agree. It is. But success is about different aspects of your life. What I define as successful in business, is very different to what I define as successful in life. And it should be. No question. In business, there is a lot to compare with; your competitors, what people have done before and market cap. If you are a freelancer and make only $20,000 per year, you may define yourself as successful. I wouldn't if it were me, but you have every right to define it as such if that is what success means to you.
Success is used loosely in society today and all you need is for one newspaper article to call you successful, then that is what you are. But the less superficial people in the world are wiser than that. They define success by their own standards and that is all that one can do.
My favourite definition of success if from this Bessie Anderson Stanley prose:
“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it;
Who has left the world better than he found it,
Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory a benediction.”