Redefining What Success Means To You

In a recent post regarding my personal development, I discussed feeling as though I have finally “arrived,” and that I am living a life I truly enjoy. What I didn’t mention in this post, as I didn’t quite make the realization until after I wrote it, is that I have discovered that this feeling of having “arrived” seems to be a product of internal work largely focused on redefining what I deem as successful. Impeccably timed, just after writing this post on my journey, I received an e-mail update from Marie Forleo on the topic of redefining success, and it definitely led to an “ah-ha!” moment. Lightbulb It was incredible how this 5 minute video sparked insight to connect a bunch of scattered dots for me.

I was on the brink of putting everything together, and this could not have been more helpful to inspire an insight I have been yearning to come to: Redefining what I feel makes me a successful person and what makes my life meaningful has been the most important factor influencing me to to realign my focus and priorities. From this experience, I have drawn the conclusion that a large part of feeling happy on a day to day basis seems to come from how you perceive your life – whether it is successful and meaningful or not. The exclusive quest for happiness seems to be counterproductive and may leave you feeling more unhappy. However, evaluating and potentially redefining what success means to you can have a massive impact on how happy you feel, as it will help you grow and understand yourself. As a by-product, an increase in general happiness will likely follow. If you feel successful and that you have a meaningful life, you are likely going to feel positive, confident, productive, thankful, and thus, happy. If you don’t feel like you are being successful according to your personal definition, you are likely spending a good deal of time chasing after something you feel is important to you or that you want. This may cause you to miss out on seeing what you currently have. It may prevent you from feeling grateful for what’s going right in your life. Thus, your perception is skewed toward the negative, which can have a destructive effect on your ability to be happy.

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” ~Abraham Lincoln

It’s all in your heads folks. Nothing external holds the key to your happiness and enjoyment in life. It may help to take a look at what you deem as successful, and to start considering some of these questions:

  1. What accomplishments would make you feel like you have achieved, are achieving, or will achieve success?
  2. What would be different in your life now if you were “successful?”
  3. What would you have to give up to achieve this current vision of success?
  4. Is the cost to achieve this vision worth it?

Be careful when asking yourself these questions. Investigate where these ideas come from…

  1. Are they yours?
  2. Did they come from your parents or opinions your parents/relatives have?
  3. Friends?
  4. Television/Movies/Popular culture?

If your success is dependent on earning more money, ask yourself why?

  1. What is it that money will give you that you don’t have now?
  2. How will obtaining that amount of money impact you?
  3. What costs are associated with obtaining that amount of money?

If your focus keeps turning to materialistic definitions of success, try to think of a few non-materialistic goals or ideas of success. I do believe materialistic goals have some importance, but if you truly dig deep, you will find the things that bring the most joy to your life are those that are non-materialistic. Somepeopleare_sopoor_alltheyhaveis_money I don’t believe that the answers to these questions will be the same at every point in your life, so it is very important to revisit your definition of success and rewrite the definition as you progress through various stages. I do believe that this definition of success should come from what is important to you. It should not come from what is important to others or what others think should make you feel successful. Where this definition comes from will determine how happy you are in pursuing these goals as well as how happy you are upon feeling that you have achieved these goals. I do believe that this definition has an impact on your day to day happiness and that being realistic about it is incredibly important. If you don’t feel successful, what little steps can you take to make progress toward feeling successful? Turn your focus to positivity, to your strength, and to your virtues. It is incredible how much power consciously re-training yourself to focus more on the positive than on the negative has on how happy you feel. Personally, exploring the outdoors, spending time away from technology, and appreciating the incredible beauty of the world has really helped me shift my perspective and fueled my growth. IMG_1485 Find what works for you, and do it as often as you can. Allowing yourself to have time to be able to do this is especially important in our modern world where so much of our time and energy is focused outwardly. Redefining your definition of success and what makes your life meaningful helps you develop an intuitive awareness, which ultimately gives you the power to determine what brings you joy; consequently, bringing happiness into your life. Ralph_waldo_Emerson_quote Has this post inspired a personal insight or additional questions? Feel free to share in the comments below, it could be beneficial to fellow readers! Or better yet, share this with someone who you think may benefit from reading!


  1. Great insights and great focus. Since I’ve reached this time in my life, I’ve had the opportunity to evaluate what is important. Which has also provided me the ability to connect more with what means the most to me. Which to me defines success.


    • Hi Nancy…thanks so much! I’m glad you enjoyed reading the post. Sounds like you’ve had it right for awhile and are living a fulfilling life. That’s what it’s about…living a life fulfilling to you.


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