I used to think that success was in the title a person carried, a reputation, or how much money someone earned. I thought that if you had a certain level of prestige surrounding your accomplishments in life, that must mean you were successful. Then a couple of things happened. I noticed that often the people in those positions of esteem seemed the most disconnected to the important things in life. Secondly, the more people I met who garnered big titles, the more unimpressed I was. Instead of being enamored by them, I thought to myself, how did they get those big titles with all those terrible personality traits? That is not to say that there aren’t some absolutely wonderful successful people in the world, I’m just saying that was my own experience in some of the agencies where I have worked. Places where integrity and fairness are supposed to be highly regarded and even part of a company’s core values. I guess it sounded great on paper but didn’t quite translate into real life. Did I really want to be like “those” people? No.

That is when success took on a new, deeper meaning for me. It was no longer a reputation, a title or a monetary value. Of course, who doesn’t want those things, right? We all do in some degree. What I’m saying is that you can have all the success in the world but if you are just an empty shell with a lot of materialistic belongings…what’s the point? If you are so stressed out from maintaining your things and position in life, is that truly success? Of course there will always be a level of stress that we each endure as we navigate our way through life but to miss the deeper meaning of success because you only look for it externally, is truly tragic.

True success in my book, is overall happiness. Success is a positive state of mind. It’s having a genuine connection and/or meaningful relationship or friendship. It’s doing work that is in alignment with who you are and want to become. Success is having a life that you look forward to when you wake up in the morning. It’s lighting the way for someone else’s path if you are in the position to do so. Success is a lot of the simple things and only a handful of the complicated things. It’s being comfortable in your own skin and plotting out your life’s journey without worrying who will or won’t agree with you. If you’re chasing success to the detriment of your own happiness, it’s time to re-evaluate your definition of success. Take inventory of what actually brings you joy. What fills up your soul, not your bank account!

What is your definition of success?