Just about everybody that you talk to would say that they wish to be successful. But a surprising number of such people cannot really define what success is. They may have a vague notion that success equates with money, power, or fame but they do not really define what levels of money, fame, or power that they seek. The notion of success is vague and the path to it is ill defined.
Clearly, success is a relative thing. It depends on a person’s value system, tolerance level, and beliefs. Some things that make one person completely happy and satisfied may be completely untenable for someone else. The first most essential step in achieving success is to identify what success really is, for this reason. This isn’t a procedure that should be taken lightly, because it will play a profound and long-lasting effect on a person’s life and career.
The optimum time to define success is early in one’s life and career as a result of the long-term implications that success and the process of it have over a person’s life. In other words, by knowing at a young age what you want to reach and then clearly defining how you are going to achieve it, the process of becoming successful becomes much more systematic. To not define success early in one’s life and career is equivalent to not defining a destination after already setting out on a journey.
The heroine of Jane Smiley’s latest novel, Private Life, lives with her husband at the naval shipyard on Mare Island, north of San Francisco. There, while in bed one evening in 1906, she feels the earth move — and it has nothing to do with her husband. A lamp falls off the bedside table — just minor damage. But, over on the mainland, all hell breaks loose as San Francisco collapses in the Great Earthquake and subsequent fire. Margaret Mayfield Early …
Of course it’s never too late to define success. Even if you’re approaching middle age or are already into it, it remains critically important for you to define what success means to you. In fact, defining success later in life benefits from the acquired wisdom and experience that the years have already yielded. Regardless of when the definition of success happens in a person’s life, it is a critical and valuable exercise.
Another client took his definition on a job interview and asked exactly for what he had defined and got it.
By forcing yourself to sit and clearly articulate what is important to you, and then understanding why, actually achieving it becomes much easier. When you have clearly defined goals in place and the compelling reasons why you want to accomplish these goals, the chances of becoming successful is much greater than if your motivations are fuzzy and ill defined.
Clearly defining success is still more important if you’re already unhappy with your life. For example, if you’re looking for long-term financial security but aren’t certain how to reach it, define what that security would mean to you. Once it’s defined you can implement a financial plan to accomplish it.