How do you define success?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘success’ thus:

  1. The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
  2. The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status.
  3. A person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame, wealth, etc.

The media certainly suggests to us that fame, wealth and social status are measures of success. Sometimes, that belief becomes so ingrained in us that we assess our own success in comparison to others: checking out the cars in the car park when you arrive for a school reunion; scrolling through your Instagram feed each morning to see other people’s wonderful homes/holidays/weddings; inwardly groaning when we see yet another LinkedIn ‘congratulate so-and-so on the amazing new job you’d have been perfect for’ notification.

Whilst we may think it should be otherwise, we can all think of examples where success doesn’t always equal happiness.

Google ‘how to be a success’ and at time of writing this, there are over 538 million results. That doesn’t mean that there are 538 million definitions of success but it does mean that there are a heck of a lot.

As a coach, it seems to me that there is only one definition of success which truly matters: our own.

Some clients define success in terms of their work achievements; some in terms of their personal growth, be that in a academic sense or in something less tangible; for some, it’s about progression; for others, it’s about life outside work. Some clients measure their success in terms of their contribution, whether that’s in a business sense or a wider forum. For some clients, a successful life is when they are living in accordance with their values: if you are unsure what your values are, check out ‘Our values make us different‘.

Maya Angelou sums it up rather nicely for me:

Today’s pebble for you to ponder: do you have your own definition of success? 


Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching. 

If you’re ready to make progress, why not email me to see how we can work together?

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2 Responses to How do you define success?

  1. Pingback: Surviving or thriving? | Turning over pebbles

  2. Pingback: Dealing with demotivation (part 4) | Turning over pebbles

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