What entails success?
I’ve been reading about this a lot. I’ve been thinking about it even more. I have friends in many different occupations, some make a lot of money, some make barely enough to eat.
So let’s start by defining success. The best definition I’ve come across is from writer John Watson: “Success is the completion of anything intended.” I will say it right off the bat, this fits the billing. To each their own.
I have a close friend who graduated college with a Sociology degree and was never really sure what she wanted to do. It’s not that she lacked direction, she just didn’t think conventionality fit with her. She was however, fluent in Spanish and has found a passion in traveling and international culture. She recently left for the Peace Corps in Costa Rica. She is going to spend three years of her life devoting her time to a cause, people and an idea. She’s not going to be making or saving any money (true), but she will be sustaining a passion and lifestyle. She will be living, how she knows best. I think this is her success.
I have another friend who has been a piano teacher for years. She has a deep love for music and has been teaching piano lessons out of her home. In this case, she can’t “climb a ladder” where traditional businesses may give this opportunity. She is however, able to work with children (she is 45, never had any of her own) and to play music daily. Her lessons remain the same, she might charge a little more as her experience has grown, but she teaches piano lessons. Plain and simple and she is satisfied. I think this is her success.
Myself, I’m in a business setting. Although it’s not corporate, it’s a startup and I know within business devlopment, marketing and public relations there are steps of growth necessary to move upward and onward. Success to me, is not through the monetary growth (although yes, in all honesty, that’s a milestone of growth) but the passion and experience that fuels me.
John Wooden the famed basketball hall of fame Coach for UCLA recently spoke at TED on true success. He spoke about wrestling over the idea of winning and success and where they intersected. He defines success as “peace of mind attained only through self satisfaction and knowing you made the effort of which you’re capable.”
Success is a perception based reality. I am speaking broadly here, not just within the blogosphere or my work at a startup, but for individual success. No matter what you’re doing.
Richard St. John’s book, 8 To Be Great: The 8 Traits that Lead to Great Success outlines distinct traits through his seven years of research and 500 interviews. This list for success entails: passion, work, good, focus, push, serve, ideas and persist.
There are varying levels of success and then even sub-set levels of success depending on the person, genre, social construct, location and belief system. I’m still hashing through it, but I think I’m seeing the light.
Success can be broad but in the end, it’s completing what you set out to do and that you made the effort, to the best of your ability. Don’t treat failure or error as a permanent road block to success. If anything, I believe the road blocks enable us to push forward and succeed.
So I’m curious, how do you define success?