How do we define success? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines success as “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame.” But is this a complete way of framing this global, while very personal, aspiration? We all want to be successful. As it turns out, the way we have traditionally defined success may need an overhaul.
For years, career success was boiled down to having a “big” job and earning a high salary. Successful people stood out from their less-successful counterparts because they drove nicer cars, wore more expensive clothes, and had larger houses. In short, the measure was all about material wealth. But is this really what defines success?
Think about it. Let’s say you have a high-paying, high-pressure job, and you die at an early age from a heart attack because of stress. Were you successful? Or what if your work consumes your life and you miss important time with your spouse, kids, and the rest of your family because you’re always on the clock? Are you truly successful? Most would answer with an emphatic, “No!”
Why? Because there’s so much more to life than how much we have in the bank, or how much we spent on our home, or how many shiny toys we have there. And there’s more to success than these material goods.
Success is about the power we build in ourselves. It’s the power we nurture that wasn’t given to us. We earn it and grow it ourselves. And with true success and power, no one, not even a top employer handing us a pink slip, can take it away from us.
Want to gauge your true success? Check out these five signs that you’re already successful, whether you know it or not.
1. When you let yourself dream big, you are successful. This means you have a vision for your life and are taking steps toward it. No matter how small the steps are or how long it will take you to reach your particular life goal, the simple act of moving towards your vision makes you successful.
2. If you speak up when it’s appropriate because you know your voice adds value, you are successful. People who aren’t yet successful tend to stay quiet at work in situations, while a more confident person would chime in. Successful people know how to use their vocal cords and their backbones.
3. You are successful if you’re the one calling the shots in your career. Having a fancy job isn’t enough. Say you have a high-level job, but you’re afraid to talk to your boss about your ideas or concerns because he or she may disagree. In this case, you’re letting others run your career, and you’re not successful yet. Successful people take charge of their career life and make confident decisions along the way.
4. If you help others achieve, you are successful. People who know how to help employers, employees, and clients achieve their own success are, in kind, successful in their careers. They have taken ownership of their work roles. The flip side of this are people who rely on others to manage their careers and are not yet successful.
5. And finally, successful people surround themselves with people whom they love and who love them back. Remember, you can always get a new job if one goes away; career status at any given moment doesn’t mean much. But your belief in yourself and your passion for your own values and the people dear to you mean everything.
At the end of the day, everyone is different, and everyone creates his or her own version of success. Remember that success isn’t about things other people give you, like fancy jobs, big salaries, and corner offices. Real success comes from within – it’s the power you build in yourself, how you set your own destiny, and how you live your life according to the values that matter to you.