How Do You Define Success?

Do you feel successful? I didn't...for a really long time. Maybe you need to re-think your definition of success!

In 2001, I was living in Northern Virginia working for an internet startup company and enjoying all the perks of the Dot Com boom.  I was in my 20s, single, and living large.  I managed a global team of 40+ people.

In 2002, I found myself standing in line at the Unemployment office in Raleigh, NC waiting to turn in my paperwork so I could start collecting unemployment.  The max amount of unemployment at that time was not enough to cover my rent.

Needless to say, that was a pretty low point in my life. 

Why the heck am I even telling you this?

I recently had a conversation with an old friend, and they said, “I’ve been watching your entrepreneurial journey the last few years and I am inspired by your success.”

The comment startled me.  You see, I didn’t feel successful.

Fact:  I’ve started 8 different entrepreneurial ventures that failed.  EIGHT over the last 23 years.

Fact:  I’ve lived on noodles for 3 months… my 20’s (NOT during college).

Fact:  I’ve been “down-sized” at a job.

Fact:  I’ve been demoted at a job.

Fact:  I’ve had 2 product launches that made $0.  Nothing.  No sales.

Fact:  I’ve not yet replaced my IT salary that I stepped away from 2 years ago.

I didn’t feel very successful.

I looked up the definition of success and found this:  the accomplishment of one’s goals.

I can definitely say that I have accomplished some of my goals, but I have yet to accomplish many others.  So, does that make me successful or not? 

What is the real gauge to measure success?

I thought about this for a long time.  I have decided to make up my OWN definition of the word success.  My definition is this:

Success is knowing that you gave 100% effort in the actions you took that day.  Success is getting back up after you get knocked down…..over and over and over again.  Success is being completely honest with yourself.  Success is not letting what other people think matter to you.  Success is doing “it” scared…whatever “it” is for you.  Success is continuing to learn and challenge yourself.  Success is not making excuses.


So, based on THIS definition of success, I AM successful.  Today.  Right now. 

Quit looking at the results to measure your success…and start looking at your actions.

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