What's your definition of success?

What's your definition of success?

By John Jantsch

Every once in a while I think it’s important to step out of the trees and re-ask yourself the really big questions.

This week I had the pleasure of moderating a panel discussion made up of successful entrepreneurs. While we covered the tactical stuff, the planning, correcting, hindsight, marketing and money, I asked them each this two-part question.

What’s your definition of success and how has it changed?

Entrepreneurs are an odd bunch really. When I ask them to talk about their businesses, they glow with excitement and get all nerdy about the granular aspects of what makes their very successful widget go, but ask them about personal success and most go “ah shucks” on you.

Here’s my thought on this. Entrepreneurs have a really tough time defining success because most entrepreneurs are never satisfied with where they are today. They already have the picture of what could be if they just got the rest of the pieces in place.

Now I’m not saying this is an altogether unhealthy state of mind, but it can sure ruin some dinner conversation with your spouse. I do think it’s something worth noting and working on.

I believe that you can and should celebrate the personal wins all along the way while still holding a glimpse of the eventual destination. Anyone who has done any climbing knows that false peaks are both a gift and a bummer. They drive you on because you feel like you’re almost there and they ground you because your realize you’ve still got a ways to go.

Every business owner should develop a personal definition of success and use it as a filter for all the stuff that goes on in the tornado. I have a personal definition of success and it’s different than yours. How do I know that, because it has to be. No one can authentically share the same specific measure of success, but they may die trying.

So back to my original thought. What’s your definition of success and how has it changed?

For me, it’s very important to think of success in milestones. Sometimes those are tangible – 1 million page views a month, sometimes they are intangible – stuff seems to be falling at my feet lately. But, most importantly, I define success as a way to feel completely jazzed about what’s happening today while holding a picture of what I know can happen tomorrow. (Kind of corny I suppose, but without that view I get the life sucked out of from time to time.)

How has it changed? All I can say is that the more inward I look, the more I surround myself with passionate people, the more I share, the better it gets. (Thanks for stomaching that one.)

So, what’s your definition of success and how has it changed?


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