What does success mean to you?

How do you define success?

Reflecting on the past year, when I think about success, it takes on different forms in my mind. My own definition of success has changed significantly over time.

People assign different meanings to success. It could be a certain qualification, a position on the organogram, good education for your children, visiting beautiful places in the world, owning a house at a specific address, a luxury vehicle….. Although these could make you feel rather proud, these only don’t necessary bring a feeling of achievement or accomplishment.

Tasting life, enjoying my career, experiencing adventures and having meaningful relationships in both my work environment and in my personal life, personify my success.

I felt content and successful after some of my life experiences:

  • I recently facilitated a training session with a number of senior managers who bought into the principles of leadership through engagement and afterwards were keen to implement these skills in the workplace.
  • After a few counselling sessions with a person who has been struggling with depression for a long time, I could see how she is lifting up her head to claim her joy again.
  • Achieving a new personal best at a trail run certainly tastes like success! I am after all an achiever, more than a competitor (read my article about these two approaches at

What is your view of success?

Remarkable people spend significant time helping other people to succeed: their families, friends, the organisation, their employees, their customers, and their community.

In addition, truly successful people spend enough time helping themselves to succeed. Personal success is important in generating the motivation to create success around them: “success breeds success”. Being content, yet still being ambitious to achieve goals mostly define the ultimate measure of success.

What does it mean to you, to be truly successful?

Here are four areas I believe can help to contribute to your success:

  1. Success first needs a plan

Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion!

Having goals, a bucket list, and a strategy gives us a purpose and a sense of direction.  The same job that so many complain about, is often an enabler to do the things we dream about.  Getting dressed and having somewhere to go, is a privilege and shouldn’t be a burden!  Do you spend most of your awake time doing a job that you love?  If you are desperately unhappy at work – what are you doing about finding an alternative?

  1. Master a new skill

Mastering a new skill or achieving an ambitious objective can be so much fun – and leads to success. Just meeting standards or expectations won’t help you stand out. So go above the norm.

Be the leader known for turning around struggling organisations, departments or employees. Be the friend who becomes a role model in your circle as someone who is on a constant quest to take on the next challenge.

Be known as the employee who does things better, responds quicker, acts faster, and always follows up promptly.

  1. Walk the talk

Can you still remember what you promised yourself at the beginning of the year as to what’s going to be different after 365 precious days?

What progress have you made?

Talk is cheap, as we know.  Everyone talks about problems.

Be the one who walks the talk – there is still time this year to make a difference just where you are.  Many people take verbal stands. Few put actual effort behind their opinions. Those who fix problems stand out and achieve success.

  1. Be here now

Mindfulness is very fashionable, but the principle is ancient, and something we shouldn’t ignore.  Do you allow yourself to enjoy the now? 

You will never have today again.  Today is the youngest you will ever be in your life.

Savour the meal, coffee or tea (or something better), hear the buzz of the office or the quietness of where you are sitting now.  Immerse yourself in the now.

I try to do this, especially if I am out in nature walking, running or cycling.  Reading a good book or watching a great movie are also profound ways of how I experience mindfulness.

Listening to good music while commuting, is often exactly what I need to start a successful day.  I read somewhere “Be happy till 10 o’clock in the morning, and the rest of the day looks after itself.

The following works for me to feel happy, immersed in the moment, and thus successful:

  • Walk barefoot on green grass – there is enough research to show that this is beneficial for your health
  • Eat real, healthy food – your body is worth it!
  • Fill your soul with sensory experiences you enjoy – sound, touch, smell, feel life
  • Do it now – don’t procrastinate!  All decisions have to be made eventually!
  • Be generous with your money, love, kindness, compliments and skills
  • Do something for someone who can never return the favour
  • Be comfortable with your own company – it is a gift to love the time you spend on your own

Often, we get stuck in a rat race that prevents us from truly generating successful situations for ourselves. I hope the tips I’ve shared above help motivate you to consider what you deem success to be… and more importantly, to go out and chase it!

What will you be doing to make your day, month, year or life successful? Let me know in the comments below, or by hitting reply to the email you received this post in as I’d love to learn from you.



5 thoughts on “What does success mean to you?”

  1. Good reminder about how to measure success and define it, thanks Marjon – I have been getting so busy just doing, doing recently, have not take the time out for the things you describe – must be up and away before I lose the impetus! Thank you!

  2. Great article, thank you Marjon! Have to agree with Margi that we regularly need to remind ourselves of where we are going with our lives, and what is truly worth-it spending anything on; financially, our energy, time and quality of what we put into our bodies, who we choose to spend time with, etc. Thank you, Marjon!

  3. Great inspiring words Marjon!
    Thanks for a great read.
    We get so caught up in our work life, we forget to enjoy being in the presence of our own company and in tune with nature.

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