How to Define Your Own Meaning of Success

coaching Feb 26, 2020

Very often when we speak of success, we do one of two things, follow the status quo of what success means these days, or we put the word success in inverted commas because we know that not everyone’s version of success is not the same. Working with so many clients over the years I’ve heard versions of success like owning my own home, making six figures, to living off the grid and travelling, to being able to wake up without pain or feeling like a good dad to my kids. So, as you can see from these examples, everyone is looking at success through their own lens whether that’s material gain or personal growth.

So how does one define their own meaning of success? How do you know what success actually means to you? It all starts with defining what is meaningful to you. For those of you who’ve known me for a while, you know that I am all about the inside out approach, meaning what’s going on within you so that you can reflect that outwardly. So, by defining what’s meaningful to you, you’ll be able to feel much more aligned with the successes you wish to create in your life.

To do this, you must get as detailed and specific as possible around the things that matter to you. For example, when I ask someone what success to them is, they might say ‘to feel fulfilled in life or to feel like they’re making a difference.’ What precisely does this mean? You want to break that down specifically, what is being successful in life mean to you? What does making a difference mean to you? How will you know when you’re making a difference? Is it when you are creating a service in your business that’s helping others? Is being fulfilled in life when you get your master’s degree or some other qualification? Is it when you start your own family? When you get that number one hit? We need to break these things down, otherwise they feel like wishy-washy dreams that don’t really give us a bull’s-eye target. And we want a bull’s eye target, so that we can make practical decisions in our day-to-day lives to create our version of success. 

And success for you might not be related to an achievement, but instead how you live your life on a day to day basis – more about the journey than the destination. Is it when you feel more present with your family and friends? When you experience more joy in your life? I would still invite you to break those things down. What is being more present for you? Is it when you are spending quality time with your family without all the distractions from devices and other such things? Then, what brings joy into your life? What specifically lights you up inside? Be specific.

Also, success might not be a big umbrella that encompasses your entire life, but more likely related to specific areas that eventually all add up. As such, it is useful for you to break this down into different areas of your life. For example, you might feel like that you’re very successful in your career, but not so much in your relationships or the other way around.

Bruce Lee said, "The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus."

So, here’s an exercise you can do to help you get some clarity or laser like focus on your version of success. Grab a notebook for this one because it’s best to write it all down as you want to get it out of your head… and on to a page.


I want you to choose 3-4 key areas of your life, for example – relationships, career, family, social life. It doesn’t matter which you choose!

Then you will ask yourself the following question for each area.

If I were successful in my relationships I would feel, be, have…

If I were successful in my career or work life I would feel, be, have…

Then you would do the same for the rest, If I were successful in my family life I would feel, be, have…and so on.

Let me go further with this example…

If I were successful in my career or work life, I would feel gratitude, fulfilment and joy! I would be making a positive impact in other people’s lives and being of service. I would be financially rewarded for my efforts and be willing to be on a continuous journey filled with love, growth and service. I would have a wonderful community of people who dare to be their authentic selves and who are willing to learn, grow and serve alongside me. Feel free to try on my example. I could add so much more to this, so I encourage you to go all out with this exercise and write as much as you can. When you review your answers, you’ll be able to notice what really matters to you and then you have strong foundation to work from. You can probably tell from mine, that love, growth and service are huge values for me! And so, in my work, when I feel that love is present, that I’m growing and helping others to grow and am being of service, then I’m pretty much in my ‘success zone’.

I encourage you to get clear on what success means to you, because more often than not, it’s that lack of clarity and focus that limits our progress. 

If you want to create your unique version of a successful life, start with knowing precisely what that is!

So go away and do the exercise and I hope that you now have some ideas on how you can design and refine your version of success.  Whatever you decide to put your effort into, get that laser-like focus on it and you are on route to success!

If you’d like to keep the conversation going and get more support, inspiration, motivation and love, then do join my awesome Facebook community and I look forward to helping you on route to success.

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