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Defining Success Your Way!


Our society defines success primarily around three elements: power, money and fame. Many of you reading this may be saying, “wait a minute –those elements are not the most important things to me.” Success is often intangible. It’s certainly unique to each person. Have you considered how you will know when you are successful?

For one of my career coaching clients, a definition of success is having autonomy in her work. She wants to set her own goals and direct her own activities. She’s considering part-time consulting work as a transition to her success. Another client defines success as a satisfying family and personal life – she’s looking for work that allows her flexible hours and telecommuting days.

In her book, “If Success is a Game, These Are the Rules”, Cherie Carter-Scott gives several examples of success:


  • financial terms – enough to retire by 50 or to buy a cabin in the woods

  • emotional fulfillment and stability – a harmonious family life

  • glory – athletic accomplishments

  • courage – overcoming a serious illness or tragedy

  • making a difference – change people’s life in a positive way

  • accumulation of knowledge and understanding


Can you come up with 3 ways to measure success for yourself? Remember, there is not a universal standard or “right” definition of success. Define what’s truly important to you. Once you’ve figured out what success means to you, you can realign your life, goals, and relationships around these priorities.

A great way to start the process of defining success is to complete these sentences:

The people I view as successful are….

I feel successful when…..

My symbols of success are….

I will feel like a success when I….

You’ll need to work with your statements until they feel or sound just right. Once you’ve defined success, start taking action to reach it. Set powerful goals and get the support you need to reach them. Expect and learn how to cope with barriers such as fear of change, your “yeah buts” and fear of identity change.

Success is a process that never ends. As you reach the height of one goal you’ll see another mountaintop you’ll want to climb. Along the way, don’t forget to appreciate what you already have and to celebrate each small accomplishment that leads to the grand prize!


Ann Ronan, Ph.D., Certified Career Coach and author, works with professionals in career transition. She offers a FREE e-course on the Top Ten Ways To Live Authentically. To learn more about this step-by-step program and to sign up for FREE how-to articles and FREE teleclasses, visit http://www.authenticlifeinstitute.com.


ann@authenticlifeinstitute.com

Ann Ronan, Ph.D.