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How Do You Define Success?

How Do You Define Success?

How to define success.

When I think about how to define success, I first have to revisit my memories of the 80’s. The big takeaway was this: success=excess. Big money, big hair, big shoulder pads! 

In my younger years,  this was how I understood success: do more, get more and don’t let anyone see you struggle. Also, marry rich because it’s all about image.

I’m a little embarrassed to report, I attempted all the above, and all were a demoralizing failure. They are all gone; the stuff, the guy and, thank God, that awful definition of success.

Well intentioned, but…

As a life coach, and in everyday conversations, I hear the laments of women who are struggling to find success in their lives. Be it as a mother, a business women, a partner, a daughter, athlete, a friend or maybe all the above women want to feel that they can meet a level of achievement in the arenas of their lives that matter most to them. – This is all good!

When is it  not good? When a woman lets someone else define what success is for her.

Social media, family, teachers, friends, colleagues and religion all weigh in on what success is, implicitly and explicitly. Often well-intentioned and sometimes, not necessarily wrong.

But here’s the thing…only you can define what true success looks like for you. Only you know the deep desires of your heart. Only you know when the Creator is calling you to do something you have never done before. Only you know how to use your life in such a way that you can call it a success. You decide the size and scope of what your success will look like.  You decide.

Let me ask you this…

Let me ask you this; has your idea of success been born out of someone else’s idea of success? If your answer is yes, does it really feel like your success?  Has you worth gotten tied to your success? Is your worth tied to someone else’s idea of success? Can you see where I am going with this?


Success does not equal worth!


There is no amount of money, no perfect home, no physique or title that will make you more valuable than you already are. I want to put this truth forward now. Get this clear in your mind. Your worth is not tied to success.

So, if success won’t make you more valuable as a human or more worthy of love, how will you define it?

Listen, it’s not for me or anyone else to decide or judge how you will define success. This is your work. Whether you want to rise up the organizational chart, open a business, make your first million before age 30, stay at home to raise your children, feed the poor in India or walk on the moon-you get to decide what success is for you.

Success produces something, why not produce joy?

The moment you invite success to come into your life it will to do so for the exchange of time, energy and money. It may cause you tears, sleepless nights and strained relationships.  It will take you to the highest of highs and watch fall to the lowest of lows.

Be careful not to fall in love with success, because it won’t love you back. Success is simply the achievement of a goal or vision. It will demand a lot of you. Possibly, it may pump up your ego. But it won’t love you back.

If you are going to fall in love, fall in love with the fruits of your success. Success produces something. Make it something that has meaning for you. Will your success create legacy and impact? Will it produce joy, happiness, wealth and abundance? Because success is going to take your valuable time, energy and money, why not create success whose  fruits bring blessings and happiness to you and those around you?

The freedom to breath.

If it sound like I’m anti-success, that is the farthest thing from the truth! I love when I successfully achieve a dream or goal! I find tremendous joy in the fruits of my labor. Pursuing success on my terms has changed the way I do just about everything.

The course of my business has changed. The need for approval and acceptance doesn’t hold the same power over me as it once did- progress over perfection! And, best of all, I have the freedom to breath. I have room to move. Love, relationship, creativity, faith all have found there way into everything I do, because this is how I define success.

Your success is yours to define.

Your success is yours to define. Maybe you will have some old, out dated version of success you will need let go of. You may have to look deep into your heart to find the definition of success that is right for you. Only you know the answer.

Do the work:

Here is an effective exercise to help you discern what success means to you:

Get your journal and thoughtfully do this exercise. When you are done, reread it. In those words you will likely be able to define what success means for you. You may find you are able to identify your core values and beliefs, as well.

The Exercise:

Imagine your funeral. Don’t get bummed, it’s a celebration of your life. Everyone and anyone you love, care about and respect is there. Each of these people will stand up to speak and share what they admired about you. They will talk about how you affected their lives and impacted the world.

  • Think about each person who will speak at your funeral.
    • Each of your children, relatives, colleagues, neighbors, people from your religious organization, your spouse or partner, students, teachers, etc.
  • what specifically would you want them to say about you? How did you impact their lives?
  • Are you surprised by what you wrote?
  • What did you discover about yourself?
  • How will you define success now?
  • How will you begin to live your life differently now?
  • Are you willing to commit to living into your definition of success?

This is a deep dive into some pretty heavy stuff! Go forth boldly, my friend. I know you can do this. This work can change how you will live your life.

As with all content from The Whole Woman Company, this is meant to inspire, inform and influence you to discover and celebrate who you are, as  Whole Woman. The. Whole.Damn.Thing.

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