What is Success?

Each week, as I think about what I could write about that, will help not only businesses but also the employees, my mind kept going to the word ‘success’ and what it means. By definition, the dictionary defines success as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. With that definition, success means different things to everyone and we can have success many times over in our lives.

Maya Angelou said: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

I was successful when I earned my master’s degree because I worked hard reached my end goal. A marathon runner is successful when they cross the finish line regardless of how long it took them.

At a recent Leadercast event it was said, that the ultimate tool you need to succeed lies inside of you. I love this. One of the speakers was Kate Delaney. She is an Emmy award-winning journalist. During her speech, she said that handling rejection on your path to success takes courage, and having courage leads to success.

We all have different motivators for what we think success is. To some it is wealth, for others are accolades. An author, for example, is successful when they see their book published and copies are sold. For a serviceman/woman, it could be protecting their country and loved ones honorably. For a stay-at-home mom, it could be raising a healthy, happy family and keeping a clean house.

The path to success is not easy, it is no straight, it is often messy with lots of starts and stops and hiccups along the way. I had the pleasure of meeting a woman who throughout her career thus far had a goal of working in the HR department. She left one job and went to another job and started in sanitation. It took time, she remained focused on her end goal and eventually ended up in her ‘dream’ job.

Kate Delaney discussed steps to take:

  1.   Commit to going all in!

What kind of leap will you take? How will you arrive at your destiny?

2.  Patience Pays!!!

Don’t be afraid to fail, and like the woman I just met who worked in sanitation keeping her goal of HR in mind she had to be patient. Remember it takes 10,000 hours to perfect your skill.

3.  Stack the deck.

This means to surround yourself with those who believe in you.

When you set a goal for whatever you’re professional or personal goals are, go all in. In many people’s cases that will entail a lot of failure along the way. Kate discussed the number of rejections she got before she was able to transition from reporting the news to reporting sports. Up until this time the sports world was dominated by men.

Some of the world’s most successful people have said success is:

  • Personal fulfillment – how happy are you?  Sir Richard Branson
  • Four pillars: well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving, Arianna Huffington
  • Waking up in the morning with a smile and knowing it will be a good day, Mark Cuban, Shark Tank, he said he even felt successful when he was poor and sleeping on the floor.
  • Self- Satisfaction, more about competing with yourself than the other guy. John Wooden, Legendary Basketball coach
  • Relationships above all else, Warren Buffett
  • Enjoying your work and liking yourself. Maya Angelou
  • Making an impact on society, Bill Gates, Microsoft
  • Success isn’t about how much money you make, it is about the difference you make in people’s lives, Barack Obama

Steven Covey, said it best, “If you carefully consider what you want to be said of you in the funeral experience, you will find your definition of success.”

What is success to you?

Cheryl Viola, MBA, Executive Director


Shana Lebowitz, Allana Akhtar. (2019, May 29). 14 rich and powerful people share their surprising definitions of success. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/how-successful-people-define-success-2017-3