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Jim's Gems: What Does Success Mean to You?

March 26, 2012
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We write often about success. What does it mean? How can we achieve it? In my experience, I’ve never really met anyone who didn’t want to be successful. However, many have trouble really defining success or knowing what success looks like. Occasionally I get challenged about my use of the concept of success altogether. So, this column will focus on the meaning of it.

What does it mean to be successful? Do you consider yourself a success? If so, why do you believe you have been successful? If you don’t believe you have been successful, what will success look like when you finally achieved it?

These are important questions to ask, because your happiness in life may depend upon your answers. Some people may believe that success means a wardrobe full of designer clothes, a fancy car, or a big beautiful house in a nice neighborhood. Others may think that success means not having to work after they win a lot of money in the lottery. Still others think that success is giving up everything they possess and devoting their lives to helping others.

To a certain extent, all of these are correct. Success means getting to do what you really want to do in your personal life and in your professional life, doing it very well, and feeling satisfied about how you're doing it. Success is about finding your true purpose in life, and a way to live it out for the time that you have.

It's perfectly fine to choose a purpose for yourself that doesn't mean much to the rest of the world. Failure only comes in having no purpose at all. Is it really failure to perform poorly at things that don't have any value to you, as long as it doesn't intentionally hurt anyone? The bottom line is, failure might just simply be performing poorly or haphazardly at that which you have chosen to be important.

In the final analysis, you are a success when you are actively engaged in becoming the person you most want to be. Success is what you really want it to look like. You are the author of your own life’s story. How do you it to end?
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