We All Need to Define “Success” for Ourselves


“Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” -Swami Sivananda

How often have you thought about what success means to you?

i’ve been thinking about this so much lately! For years growing up from what I’ve seen around me, I’ve summed up success as looking like a decent job and a house with a family and a nice car. So i’ve always thought thats what I needed to be working towards. I mean, How could there be anything wrong with this plan? This would mean happily ever after right?

Through traveling and interact with all kinds of different people i’ve found the answer to that question to be “NO”. Having all those things doesn’t mean happily ever after. Sometimes it doesn’t even mean “I’m happy right now”. So this rediscovery has lead me to believe that success is something we all have to define for ourselves.

Real, lasting success comes from identifying what fulfills you most, and then allowing those things to influence your daily work and future decisions. I know that sounds like a lot, but i’ve found that asking myself these question has helped me so much and maybe they’ll help you too.

  1. “Whose Career Do I Admire?”

The answer might be a friend, a family member or someone you follow on Instagram. Think about someone who inspires you, and ask yourself why you consider that person to be successful. Is it because of the industry they work in? The amount of travel they get to do? Or, maybe it’s because of the impact they have on people’s lives? 

Maybe you know someone who you see as a real boss in their field. They’re constantly taking risks and innovating, and as a result asked get some pretty cool opportunities thrown their way. Once you’re able to pinpoint the elements of their career that you love, you can allow those characteristics to inform your own path. 

Also, If you can reach out to that person and see if you can gain any further insight on how the got to where they are.

2. “What Are My Values When it Comes to Work?”

It seems like everyday there are different job opportunities popping up. So much so that sometimes it feels even more confusing to decide what you really want to do. I’m not quite sure why we often get rushed into making a decision that we more than likely will be spending countless hours of the day giving our time to for years.

It’s so important that you put aside time to think about the bigger picture: where you are, what you find fulfilling, where you want to be and how do you think you can get there. 

Is your work challenging? Is your work fullfiling Do you appreciate an environment that celebrates risk-taking? Do you want more opportunities to flex your creative muscles? 

Answering these questions requires a lot of self-reflection.

3. “What Impact Do I Want to Have?”

Many people want to do meaningful work, but are held back by a one-dimensional view of what that means. For example, you might initially think that this only applies to people who work at nonprofits charity organizations.But there are lots of other ways to make a difference.

To feel like your work is making a difference, figure out the specific areas within your organization, field, or community in which you’d like to see change happen—and allow that to influence your short and long term goals.

Change will not come overnight, but identifying how you’d like to leave your mark, and working toward that leads to a more fulfilled life. 

Sometimes it can feel like the life we want is unattainable, always out of reach, and we’ll never get out of the rut we’re in. This is a big fat lie and I urge you to shift “I can’t” to “I can” (or at least “maybe it’s possible”) because you can choose to start doing something different. Even small changes toward your vision of success will make a difference. It’s a process and it takes practice. Keep going, one step at a time, in the direction that calls you.