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Your Personal Definition of Success

You have recurring patterns of success themes. You use certain skills over & over. They are the achievements, successes, and accomplishments in your life. Using certain skills works for you.

At this stage in your process, how do you now define Success considering all the components you reflected upon as you surfaced information about you?

Take time to define how success is best described by you. The main reason you may want to do this is to determine what you want to stop, start, or continue as it relates to your career strategy. As mentioned before, you're motivated to do what you do based on what success means to you. You act on what you care about or value, what you believe in and what motivates you to act.

Could it be that success for you isn't the cultural definition? Could success for you be related more to power or physical beauty? Is it about being independent? Is it the satisfaction you have from doing something well? Perhaps it's a combination of all of these, or it could be something entirely different. Everyone has an examined or more likely an unexamined belief about what success means to them. The idea is to self-assess so you can progress. Be open to insights that come to you as to how you experience success.

Is success best described as a "what" in your life? Those things that prove to you and the world that you are successful. Like a specific car, or a home in a certain area, enough money to do whatever you want whenever you want, flying first class, or something like being respected by your peers.

Our western culture has traditionally defined success by the amount of money you make along with toys and stuff you collect. That is why many of us have equated success by abbreviating it into dollars and cents signs. And, that's fine. It's possible though, that the dollars and cents definition is simply your knee-jerk reaction based on traditional cultural norms. Whatever it is, do you define success as the "what's" in your life? Or, is it something entirely different?

Is Success better described by you as a "when" in your life? When this happens then… all you do is fill in the blank. Perhaps, when I finish my degree, or I get a promotion, own my own home, lose that extra 10 or 15 pounds. Or, the kids are in or out of school, or "I'm part of the leadership team", or is it more like "I'm in a loving relationship"? Is success to you When something happens, or is it a combination of what and when?

Is success best described as a "where" in your life? Where can be described as an actual place, space or it can be a stage or state in your life? I'll be successful when I'm at a stage in my life where I can travel to exotic places whenever I want. Or, I don't live with my parents, or I can spend my winters in a warm climate, work from home, or work whenever I want. Or, is it a combination of what, where, when? The important thing is to think it through being very honest with yourself. You may be surprised by your authentic self when you answer this question.

Thinking through the "what", "when", "where" gives you only part of the equation. You eventually want to factor in the "why" and "how" of success in your life. The "why" clarifies what motivates you to act giving you greater control over your life. The "how" part happens when you determine what you want in the first place.

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Written by

Sylvia Gaffney, PhD