What Is Success? (Great Answers from 35 Successful People)

Success can mean differently to all of us. For some people, it may mean attaining a certain social status in life or fame, and for some, it means being genuinely happy and satisfied even without all those things.

So, what does success mean to you?

To help us explore the different meaning of success, we asked 35 people to share their insights and how they achieved their own version of success.

Let’s take a look.

G. Brian Benson


Award-Winning & #1 Best-Selling Author of “Habits For Success – Inspired Ideas to Help You Soar” | Coach | TEDx Speaker | Radio Personality | Actor | 4x Ironman Triathlete

Success simply means attempting to move forward

I think many of us have been taught by society and our loved ones (as they were taught as well), that happiness, success, and fulfillment come from fitting into a certain societal mold.

More often than not success meant having a good job and making a good living from it. Be wary of being seduced into prematurely accepting some role that doesn’t have much to do with your nature or values.

I ran my family business for 11 years finally leaving after owning up to the fact that it didn’t truly interest me or feed my creative being. It wasn’t easy at first because I felt like I had the weight of society and my family pushing against me because I wasn’t abiding by its definition of success.

Since then I have come to realize that success isn’t defined by money, job status or keeping up with the Joneses. Success simply means that you are showing up, attempting to move forward and open to the self-growth process. In my book, if you do that you are a success.

Here is something I recently started doing that has helped me reframe my idea of success. All you need to do is get a jar or a can and every time you do something successfully, you write what it was on a slip of paper and put it in your jar. That’s it. I know you are probably asking me why you should have a success jar.

Well, it’s like this. I started doing it to remind me of all of the positive, successful things that I am doing that in the past I had overlooked. If you are anything like me, sometimes we forget and it can feel like we aren’t making much headway. It’s a way to keep my energy up and the positive vibes flowing. I put everything in there.

Showing up for Cross-Fit class, going to an audition, having a successful radio show, a great day of writing, an awareness in my self-growth process, stepping out of my comfort zone or even if I handled a situation well. They are all successes in my book and they go to the jar. What’s really cool is to pull some of the slips out from time to time and remind myself of successful moments that I had.

I have found it to be a really powerful tool and I hope you do as well. It’s an eye-opening exercise that will help you learn the real meaning of what success is!

Paige Arnof-Fenn


Founder & CEO, Mavens & Moguls

Staying true to my core beliefs

Loyalty is one of my core values—loyalty to self and to others whom I respect. It’s important to me to gauge how many colleagues and customers come back and refer us to those who trust them. Being true to the mission of the organization and delivering superior experiences matter to me a lot.

Having the confidence to walk away from a client or colleague who’s diluting the equity in your brand is tough, but it’s necessary sometimes. You must always be authentic to the essence of your brand and surround yourself with people who reinforce your brand and its values–not tarnish it.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, relationships matter. Quality encounters matter. Honesty matters. Consistency matters. Authenticity and integrity matter. The experience and the journey matter. Focus on what matters to you and get rid of things that don’t. Taking the clutter out of your mind and your life frees up space for more of what you value.

Success is very personal so your definition will be–and should be–different than mine. To me, growth for growth’s sake is meaningless, but profitable growth with interesting clients solving important problems is what keeps me engaged and excited.

The ability to spend time with people I love and care about is critical. My reputation really matters, and the positive word-of-mouth means a lot to me since almost all of our business comes by referral.

In my experience being brutally honest helps build trust and relationships with clients. No one likes being told their web site/name/tag line/materials are sub-par but sometimes it needs to be said.

I have been in meetings even ones where we are pitching new business and made comments about confusing copy, double entendres, broken links, poor navigation, etc. and although sometimes it will backfire in many instances they see the point and appreciate the candid feedback.

Sometimes a person will come up after and actually thank you for “being so honest” or saying what others have felt but were afraid to express.

The best example for me was when we were invited to submit an RFP for a large client (all the other firms invited were large agencies) and in our pitch we highlighted the fact that the document was poorly written and not very clear so could be interpreted various ways so that in fact instead of being one 6 figure engagement it could easily be interpreted to be 2 very large projects but we did not want to scare them off so assumed they meant the smaller scope.

The President of the company asked me to explain what I meant. He paused and said we were the only firm that mentioned it and he agreed and asked for a second proposal from us, we ended up winning the entire project and it is still the biggest engagement we have ever done in the history of my firm.

He also apologized because a new junior employee wrote the RFP it was her first one and he asked us to serve as her brand coach in addition to the project so she could learn about marketing processes correctly from us.

We got 3 pieces of business out of it! You hate to ask stupid questions but sometimes asking clarifying questions and having them explain what they mean can end up in your favor (and triple the work)!

A great quote about success comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a little bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

Vid Lamonte’ Buggs Jr.


Founder & Owner, VLB/VBJ Enterprises, LLC and 4-U-Nique Publishing

Obtaining happiness from achieving your goals

What is success and how do we obtain it? Many people attribute success to how much money they have, what kind of car they drive or the size of their home. However, should material items really define success?

True success is gained not only from the achievement of our goals but also from the happiness and satisfaction derived from pursuing those goals.

To become successful, one has to have – and keep – a plan on how they will obtain success. Keep improving and increasing your work ethic.

Whether you want to become an athlete, musician, speaker, entrepreneur, model, etc., train to become the best at what you do. Give it all. Work as hard, or harder, as the top professionals in that field.

Know that you will experience some failure along the way – but it’s important to remember that failure is a necessary step on the road to success. You’ve heard it before; it’s not how many times you fall that matters; what matters is how many times you stand back up.

When you keep reaching for your goals – then look back to see how far you’ve come since falling – it is the failures that allow you to achieve a sense of satisfaction, no matter where you are on your journey.

Related: Overcoming Fear of Failure (Avoid these 3 Mistakes)

Sometimes, in order to reach success, one has to be a little selfish. Some may criticize you for the necessary choices you must make in order to obtain your goals – but remember it’s easier for people to criticize than it is for someone to create. Cast doubt, fear, and intimidation out of your mind, body, and soul. Do not let pressures of other’s get you down.

When you do become successful, do not boast about your success but instead let your actions speak for themselves. Strive to make a positive difference in the world and spend your free time learning new things and continuing to be constructive.

Success does come with a price – it may mean spending less time on personal enjoyment – and some people may become jealous of your success, affecting your relationships in unforeseen ways. However, if your priorities and values are in order, the success you achieve will be well worth it – and the people that truly matter will be able to share in that success with you.

Rafael E. Salazar II, MHS, OTR/L

Rafi Salazar

President & CEO, Rehab U Practice Solutions

Doing meaningful or fulfilling work

I define success as doing meaningful (or fulfilling) work that both meets your personal or professional goals and provides enough income to support your desired lifestyle.

This means that success means different things for different people depending on your circumstances, goals, and desires.

Often times, people get caught up in “climbing the ladder”, “taking the next step”, or trying to fit the mold of what society or the media portrays as “success”. That leaves many people spinning their wheels, grinding it out, trying to reach that corner office that’s going to end up making them miserable. It also means there are plenty of people out there who have given up on their passions, dreams, or goals in order to “succeed”.

It can be very easy to get caught up in that, but we need to remember that we will only be truly happy when we are doing the work that we feel we were meant to do.

For some, this might mean earning less money or receiving less recognition in order to work on a project that gets them fired up in the morning. For others, it may mean grinding it out trying to build a business they believe in.

Ultimately, it comes down to 2 questions:

  1. Are you fulfilled by your work and moving towards your goals?
  2. Are you satisfied with the lifestyle that work provides for you?

If the answer to those two questions is “yes”, then quit worrying about what other people may think, you’re already living the dream!

David Gasparyan


President, Phonexa

Success is more about the journey than the destination

Obviously, we can define success in many ways: by having the love and support of your family, by setting trends in your industry, by building a great company. And I do believe it is important to set goals for your work and personal life and reaching those goals can be viewed as a success.

But I believe that ultimately success is more about the journey than the destination. If I am able to wake up every day and put the maximum amount of energy and effort into goals that I believe in, that is success.

I have a great passion for my company and our team and every day that I get to work with them is a day of success. Yes, there are big achievements that we strive for—and most of the time we get there and occasionally we do not. But to me, it is working towards these goals and achievements that make me feel successful.

Erin Baker, PhD


Leadership Coach | Social Psychologist

Success is something that every person can define and design for themselves

What matters most is whether a person feels an internal sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, rather than whether they have reached some external yardstick or milepost. For some people, success might be about living a life of authenticity and alignment with their values.

For others, it might be about making enough money to live a life of comfort, stability, and providing for their family. And for others, it may be constantly pushing the limits of what they can do personally and professionally.

Importantly, just as products and services routinely go through “redesigns,” so can one’s own definition of success. That is, a person does not need to keep the same definition across a lifetime. At one point in time, success may be maybe making enough money to be comfortable, but later in life, it may be about living a life of authenticity and alignment.

So ultimately, the number of definitions of success is only limited to the number of people on this planet multiplied by the number of times they can redesign their definition! Which is to say, the definitions are limitless!

Timothy G. Wiedman

Timothy G. Wiedman

Associate Prof. of Management & Human Resources (Retired)

Doing the things that you really enjoy

When I was much younger, I spent thirteen years managing several different business operations in Detroit, Cleveland, and Columbus. I made a good salary, earned solid performance bonuses, was regularly promoted, and considered myself a successful manager. But 60-hour work weeks often left me stressed out and exhausted, and I rarely had enough time for my outside interests.

Since I had always enjoyed training new managers, I had thought that one day I might go into college teaching. With that in mind, I had been taking evening graduate business courses at a major university located near my office.

So when my company offered me a buy-out during a recession, taking it allowed me to become a full-time graduate student for well over a year (with my wife shouldering more than her fair share of the financial load at home). But when she got sick and had to leave the workforce for ten months, I had to take up the slack.

So I landed my first teaching job as a full-time business instructor at one of the state’s small two-year colleges in an adjacent county. I didn’t enjoy the daily commute, the workload there was crazy (twenty contact hours per quarter), and the base salary was almost thirty percent below what I had been making in the business world. (And, of course, there was no bonus plan for college instructors, and I had been used to regularly earning bonuses!) But at least I’d gotten my start in academia.

Once I had enough experience, I set my sights on better teaching positions at bigger schools and moved up the academic ladder. Ten years after landing that first teaching job, I was an Associate Professor and was running the business programs at a fairly large community college in another state — and was finally making “decent” money again!

Then, after eventually completing my doctorate (which took eight years of part-time work, but was definitely a worthwhile goal to pursue), I decided that I wanted to finish my career teaching in a four-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program.

Making that switch temporarily reduced my rank and salary, but teaching upper-level management courses at a small, residential, liberal arts school was extremely rewarding. At the end of grading periods, I still occasionally worked long hours; but the flexibility and control that I had over my schedule beat the business world by a long shot.

And, of course, I was able to take the summers off if I chose to do so — and I did in order to hike through, explore and photograph eighteen different National Parks, National Monuments and scenic National Forests throughout the western United States.

Further, during our winter and spring breaks, I was able to rediscover the joys of Alpine skiing in the mountains of Colorado! And I also invested wisely, which eventually allowed me to take early retirement from that semi-selective liberal arts college as a 62-year-old tenured associate professor.

Over the course of my working life, it is entirely possible that I would have been better off financially if I had stuck with my management career (and its hectic 60-hour work weeks). But money isn’t everything — and at some point, you’ll likely have more than you really need in order to live comfortably in retirement.

In my opinion, it is more important to live your life doing things that you really enjoy. I believe that best-selling author and businessman Harvey Mackay once said, “Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” And who can argue with that?

Christopher G. Rither


Founder, OneMeanDream.com

It is we who define our own success

Today, we live in a fast-paced connected society that seems to equate success with getting ahead, gaining attention, making money, expanding popularity or even owning more stuff than everyone else. But success can only be determined by the individual.

What’s success to one could mean failure to another. So, to be successful, we must identify what success means to us. We are the only ones who can answer the question – What is success?

This means we must decide what it takes to determine ourselves successful. I find success every time I reach a milestone, I set for myself. To some, it could be reaching a lifelong dream, receiving a promotion, completing a Ph.D., or saving enough money to maintain a certain lifestyle after retirement.

In the end, success can only be determined by the goals, desires, and actions we ourselves take. It is we who define our own success, not others.

This means resisting the pressures of popular culture or those nagging friends trying to push us into their own preconceived ideas of success. Finally, success is something we find from within. It’s the ability to set a goal and then reach it.

To be confident in our abilities and talents to get us where we want to go. To find the strength we need to reach our dreams or learn the things we need along the way. Success can only be defined by you. Why not start today!

Roman Grigoriev


CEO, Splento

Imagine your life as a road trip. Some people will judge your success by the speed of travel, by RPMs on the tachometer or by how many other cars you overtake. Others by the company you keep in your passenger seats, the variety of stops you make along the way or by how beautiful and well-kept your car is.

To me, however, success is:

  • Wanting to go somewhere.
  • Knowing why you want to go there.
  • Having a plan to get there.
  • Sticking to this plan in spite of obstacles, yet being flexible to change it when necessary.
  • Enjoying the journey.

Jimmy Rodriguez


COO, 3dcart

Success is being able to live your life in your own way

Since work takes up a big part of most people’s day, a big part of success is not only being good at what you do but being happy with what you’re working on. It’s hard to be successful if you’re not good, and even harder if you resent or dislike the work that you are doing.

This can take time to discover and uncover, but it’s a worthy path to take to determine what you want to work on every day, even if you had all the money in the world. When it comes to your personal life, success isn’t much different. It’s being happy about what you spend your time doing and with whom.

The combination of your work and your leisure creates true success. The unique thing about success is that it is not universal, but unique to each individual, so it’s important to pursue your own version of success and remember that it is a dynamic goal rather than a static one.

Dave Ramsey


CEO, Ramsey Solutions

Success is conducting your life with integrity and perseverance

People may think that those with no integrity are the ones who get ahead, but that’s just on TV. Successful people let their yes be yes and their no be no.

Successful people aren’t always the most brilliant in the bunch. They just refuse to quit. They will not be denied. They scratch and they claw and they push through. There’s a high correlation between perseverance and success.

I’ve met with thousands of successful people, and in every case, I’ve found them to be colossal failures. They have failed their way to the top. It turns out, the so-called gleaming mountain of success is actually a pile of garbage they choose to stand on rather than lying underneath.

Success is integrity, perseverance, passion, self-discipline, and faith. And the good news? Every one of these things, you can choose too. That is success.

Shelly Schneider

President, 113 Solution

I believe that true success does not fit into the definition that our society gives us. If you look to our culture success is all based on material wealth.

As I age, I have found that the things that make me feel the most successful are not the things I can buy but the things I can grow. Being present in my marriage and with my children is the best example I can give of this.

I have left two comfy jobs so far as to choose to be home with my children. I understand that not everyone has this choice and that also makes me feel like my prior choices have been successful.

We were able to work really hard in 2008 to pay off all of our debt but our house and that really opened up a lot of choices for us. Instead of being bound by what the corporate world says we need to do we have the freedom to do what fills our souls.

I recently started my own online business, and am able to show my kids that there are many ways to find success and very few of them have to do with how much you buy and what you own. I mean, unless you are measuring success by the size of your house, brand of your clothes, and flash in your car.

Overall, I feel like success has more to do with seizing life and being able to live it your own way even if it is contrary to what our culture says is success.

You wouldn’t believe how many people we have asked us how they could do what we do, most people simply don’t think outside of what culture tells them until someone shows them it can be done in a comfortable way.

Christopher Chung

Director & Founder, Locate 852

Success is being happy and grateful

It is easy to put a number or object to the word success as it is quantifiable. People may say I need a Ferrari or seven figures in my bank account to be successful but I believe happiness and gratitude is success.

If you are truly happy and grateful for what you have and wake up with a smile, then you have achieved success.

Don’t get me wrong as I do believe that material goods do bring happiness but typically it doesn’t last. Chances are if you are not happy when you have a scarcity of wealth, you won’t be happy when you have financial freedom as you’ve made your happiness dependent on external factors that are not in your control.

You see, being happy and grateful is easier said than done which is why only a few are truly able to attain it. This is why you must be happy whilst trying to attain your goals and embrace the process of getting there. Always remember that being happy and satisfied are two different things.

Being happy and grateful is success. If you are already happy and you are chasing a goal (typically a monetary figure or object) you have yet to attain, once you succeed you will be 10x happier as your success originated from within.

Romeo Spino

CEO, StratasCorp

Success should be about happiness. Too many people today display or project success with material possessions or extreme actions. It is so profound today because everyone is trying to keep up with the Jones.

Success isn’t about owning a fancy car, a big mansion, or flying on a private jet. Instead, success should be determined by the internal happiness of how a person feels.

Someone who is fortunate enough to build a successful business and provide jobs that can change peoples lives for the better is success. It should always be about providing value and making people feel valued.

My success story is not that I was able to build a $200 million dollar company. Instead, success to me is when one of my employees who started as a receptionist worked hard every day and ended up getting a promotion to work in our finance department and received a substantial raise.

After a few months, she came to me and told me how appreciative she was of her promotion because it gave her the opportunity to get her very first own apartment and move out of her parents’ house.

She grew up in an environment where her stepfather was mentally abusive and sometimes physically. By her being able to afford her own apartment has made her feel happy and gave her more self-confidence.

Knowing that the company I built was able to provide an opportunity for her to go from being at a low point in her life to now being at a high point makes me happy. Feeling that happiness in my heart deep inside my gut is my success.

Mike Sheety

Founder, ThatShirt

Success is not a one size fits all

Success varies for each individual, it is not a one size fits all. I measure my success on 3 baselines.

Financial Success

Determining the goals that I had and wanted to achieve to have financial success allowed me to appreciate success when it came. Whether it was having enough income to buy the things I wanted, to working towards a house/car – knowing what I wanted for financial success, give me the opportunity to appreciate that success instead of taking it for granted.

Career Success

At one point in my life, I hated my job and I didn’t look forward to going to work. I was miserable. I took a step back to analyze what are the things I love to do and what makes me happy. I then altered my career path to something that I enjoy and makes me happy. My career success is doing something that I love, not just a task that has to be done.

Health Success

I wanted to be healthy and fit. My success for health came from wanting to better myself. I have always wanted to run in a marathon and finish it – this was a success I wanted to achieve.

Taking the time to train and eat correctly, I began feeling better taking the small steps towards my goal. Eventually, I got there, I completed my first marathon and it tasted so sweet.

This is what success is for me. Establishing what I consider to be a success for each of my categories allows me to appreciate the goals I achieve and the life I live.

Deborah Sweeney


CEO, MyCorporation.com

Can success be measured? And if so what is it measured by? Is success calculated in the amount of income you make, how happy you are, or how you see yourself? Throughout our lives, we’ve heard hundreds of stories about how the most ‘successful’ people are miserable. We constantly measure people’s success by their fame and riches.

Personally, I believe success should be defined without comparison to celebrities, coworkers, or family/friends. Success is how we see ourselves without comparison. Now ask yourself, “Am I successful?” “How far have you come in life?” “How much have I grown and built myself in my lifetime?”

Write these answers down and you’ll have your definition to success. Remember to always recognize your accomplishments, highlight your achievements, and mark that as your success.

Reuben Yonatan


Founder & CEO, GetVOIP

Success is different for everyone, but to me – it’s creating a viable future for my family, and my family of employees. To me, a viable future is one that we can also enjoy.

As a leader, my team relies on me to provide for all of our financial futures. And, as a husband, my family relies on me to do the same. There is pressure here, but it’s important that I recognize what I’m doing all of this for.

So, while I feel stress in creating all of this success, it’s also important that I balance my work life with time to enjoy family and friends–and, ensure that my employees have that time as well.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the immense support my family gives to me, which enables this successful entrepreneurship.

Shyam Krishna Iyer


Founder, SKI Charities

Success is a balanced focus on people, returns, and the environment. Everything that makes and sustains a community, from within the community. People are the most important aspect, and the key to our long-term success has been involving like-minded individuals to both finance and operate our organization.

When I began a global charity to serve the economically excluded, I found no existing organization that was doing the same. Having no template or beaten path, a startup was the only answer.

9 years later, our particular success is defined by the hundreds of empowered beneficiaries as they themselves become entrepreneurs who take charge of their lives and make their visions into reality.

Grant Hensel


CEO, Nonprofit Megaphone

In the entrepreneurial world, ‘success’ is a word outside observers use to describe a person, company or team that has persevered through failure after failure without a loss of momentum and manages to make progress against their most deeply held goals.

Before starting Nonprofit Megaphone and the RoundUp App, I started 8+ businesses, many of them smoking craters. At the moment, this looked, felt and smelled like a failure.

In hindsight, each failure taught a lesson that led to whatever level of ‘success’ that we now enjoy. By the same token, today’s failures are the raw material for what tomorrow the world will call ‘overnight’ success

Yaniv Masjedi


CMO, Nextiva

Success to me is continued perseverance in the face of adversity, and remaining humble during the wins. What impresses me so much about my boss and our company’s CEO is his tenacity.

Coming to a new country in his early 20s with no money, then going on to found a multi-million dollar company is incredible. But, beyond that, he quickly lost it all. Despite that quick rise and fall, he continued onward.

Today, he runs multiple companies, including one with more than 1,000 employees. Yet, even though he could stand at the top of a mountaintop and proclaim victory, he’s as humble as ever about his role in it all, and always thinking about how to better serve his clients and employees. His determination and humble spirit are, to me, what makes him so successful.

Brandi Bernoskie


Founder & Chief Alchemist, Alchemy+Aim

The meaning of success has changed many times in the past 10 years. When I was a graduate student, success looked like As on papers and the promise of a good position in a university after defense. After I left, it took on a new meaning: a job that offered great benefits.

But after two years working with a great non-profit, I craved freedom and flexibility and decided to be a freelancer. As I learned more about business and working with clients, success started to look like more team members, higher revenue, and more visibility. It wasn’t until last year that I truly learned what success was: being in a position to make the time to be with my mom as she was in and out of the hospital.

The doctors were trying to figure out what was wrong, whether it was cancer back again or something else. In the end, it was cancer. I spend my mornings with her, sitting beside her, taking care of her, giving her a hard time, trying to remind her that there was always hope. I was able to shift my schedule and my role to be there for her.

We don’t always think of the ability to give our presence where it needs to be most as a success, but it absolutely is for me — with clients, with my team members, with my family.

Related: Why Is Family Important?

Greg Dorban


Chief Strategy Officer, Ledger Bennett

“Success is building something you believe in, with people that inspire you, that will make the world a better place.”

I, like most people at one point or another, got stuck in a career rut and became unsure of my direction in life. Having been there myself and from coaching hundreds around it, from experience I can say that most people spend most of their time working in jobs that do not fulfill them, in order to buy things that won’t fulfill them.

Furthermore, they spend more time with people than anyone else in their life. What happens if you don’t like these people? What happens if they’re a drain on your energy or wellbeing?

Success to me is doing something every day that I truly believe in, with people that inspire me to be more. They hold me to higher expectations, educate me and motivate me more than I could alone.

The media and masses online today promote the outcome – the money, the financial freedom, the material stuff. If you just love the process, you’re already more successful, fulfilled and happier than most.

Jessica Zanotti


Co-Founder & Creative Director, Untethered

When we view success as a destination, we’ll likely never find it. The destination will continue to stretch as there will always be a higher level of whatever it may be we’re striving for.

I believe we should define success as the act and desire to continuously grow and evolve — that is the one common denominator that pushes us forward in whichever way we want to see success.

We must take the time away from our routines to consistently reflect and dedicate time to wisely choose our paths of success by asking ourselves what brings us joy? What are we passionate about and feel compassionate towards? I believe this is a good starting point to evolve and grow in the areas we want to see success in.

Related: What Makes People Happy? 10 Things That Make You Happy Every Day

I personally prioritize to successfully evolve and grow inspired by people, ideas, and opportunities around the world. I seek to learn new ways to nourish my health, cultivate a strong community, and create work that is meaningful and contributes to a larger positive shift in the world.

Jeff Butler


Workplace Expert | Author

The way I define success is through the mirror. Every day when I am shaving my face and looking into my reflection, I ask myself, ‘How do I feel about what I am doing in the world?” If I emotionally resonate with the answer, I know I am being successful.

One of the biggest changes I had in my personal life is the feeling that what I was adding to the world was going to leave a better tomorrow. In my first business this wasn’t the case, but in my current business, I know it is making a difference. To this day, the mirror defines whether or not I am being successful.

Ben M. Roberts


Head of Marketing, Talkative

Success isn’t doing things, it also isn’t what others think and sees you are doing. It is intrinsic. It is within you. Yes, outsiders may label you successful or may perceive you as someone who has had success, but it’s not black and white.

For some, success is merely doing something new, for other people, it’s all about the completion, and for a few, it’s the journey. Whichever way that you look at it, there are a number of commonalities to success.

Time, effort and blockers. No matter whether you define success as starting something, doing something or finishing something, all three of these commonalities exist.

You will have to put in effort to overcome an obstacle and do it within a time frame. An example would be running a marathon for the first time; it will require effort, you will have to overcome your own barriers, and you will need to do it within a time period.

Success is yours, no-one else’s. People may see you as successful or not, but that doesn’t make you successful. You have to feel successful in yourself.

I have built my success in doing things I thought I couldn’t do before. By setting goals, and reaching them. Only by knowing what I want to do, can I be successful. What is your goal? What do you want to achieve?

Drew Parker

Drew Parker

Founder, The Complete Retirement Planner

True success can be defined in terms of bettering yourself in the pursuit of ultimately benefiting others. It starts with defining a goal that will push you beyond what you are currently capable of, and not being afraid of failure.

You may not know exactly how you will be able to achieve that goal, but you believe that your passion and determination will enable you to overcome any roadblock. Mark Twain once said, “To succeed in life you need two things – ignorance and confidence.

To be successful you can’t let what you don’t know to deter you. Believe in yourself, trust in your ability to learn and grow as needed and strive to accomplish the goal because you know that others will benefit from your efforts. Reaching a goal may be personally satisfying, but success is ultimately determined by the people who your goal will benefit.

For reference – My goal was to help the 74% of households who have no financial plan, don’t know how to create one, and have no idea how much they will really need for retirement. There are virtually no comprehensive financial planning tools available that are thorough and accurate enough to help them figure this out, and I wanted to change that.

What I didn’t know was just how complex it would be to make such a planner so that it would be flexible enough to account for anyone’s particular situation, but still be in-depth and user-friendly.

I also had no idea what was involved in setting up a company. With a great deal of research and perseverance, I was able to accomplish my goal, but it wasn’t until customers started telling me how much they appreciated the planner that I really felt successful.

You can sell almost anything, but if it doesn’t directly add value for those using it, it doesn’t really matter. Knowing that people found the planner to be useful in helping them to gain clarity about their financial future was the real success.

Scott Schmaren


Neuro Performanceologist | Speaker | Coach | Author | Hypnotist

Success is only one thing and it is a mindset

Nothing more. If someone thinks he or she is successful, then she is and he or she will live a happy and successful life despite financial troubles. On the other hand, some people can have all the money in the world and not consider themselves “successful” and can be unhappy in life.

The most successful people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, Jeff Bezos, Abraham Lincoln and thousands of others, share a common trait.

They were all able to visualize success in their lives before they had it and they adopt the attitude, habits, emotions and the mindset of their vision of success as if it already existed.

We all have to decide what version of success looks like for us. What are the habits, thoughts, emotions, and skills needed to adapt for us to obtain success in our daily lives. Success comes from inside the mind and then manifests itself in the physical world.

Related: 39 Habits of Successful People (the Ultimate List)

Stephanie Hammell, MBA


FinTech Entrepreneur | Investment Advisor

Attitudes of the Millennial generation has greatly shifted from our predecessors in terms of what success means, and I can attest to this by my own personal view of what I believe success is.

Studies have shown that millennials crave flexible work schedules and work/life balance as the most important needs, and other generations are now shifting towards this mentality as well.

Whereas before baby boomers were focused on contributing their time solely to work, now the shift has switched to leisure, adventure, and family.

Success is not defined by having a job, making great money and working to no end; now the shift is embracing ideas of not waiting until retirement to enjoy life but to enjoy it now.

The time is now on everything – this is the success mentality we find ourselves in. Through my financial consulting practices, more and more clients have found themselves embracing the non-traditional idea of retirement.

They do not want to completely stop working, but instead work part-time on their passions or just create more flexibility for themselves during their career years to enjoy life. This is a success to me- to be financially free with the ability to travel and create experiences and find work I am passionate about.

Studies have shown that is what most generations are shifting towards as well. I have taken several trips recently to Europe due to my significant other being stationed over there temporarily, and with that traveling, I still have been able to be successful in my work life. I have the financial freedom to be able to plan these trips and enjoy my life while striving to further my passions.

This balance has provided me with what I’ve defined as success. The achievements I have made to date were not to be stuck in a job I had no control over, but to follow my passion and make a difference, something I think we all want so we can spiritually grow to our fullest potential.

Yocheved Golani


Author | Life Coach, e-counseling.com

Success is having achieved a state of inner peace

News headlines are filled with almost daily updates about the misery of rich and famous people. They take recreational drugs to drown out their sorrows, drink until they commit crimes, pursue life-threatening activities, and generally do things that happy people don’t even think of (name the sex scandal, theft, or other forms of betrayal that damages oneself plus affected people).

The reason that they live life on the edge of danger is that they erred in believing that riches and/or fame would solve their problems. Adulated for their “successes” by fans and biographers, those miserable models of humanity are far from success in any beneficial form. They’re desperate to escape their long-lasting unhappiness.

Success is having achieved a state of inner peace, self-respect, and pride in what you do. Though normal people have done things that we regret, we invest in self-discipline to live life better than we have lived it before. Successful people don’t endanger their lives or anyone else’s.

They don’t need rehab for addictions, self-induced physical harm, or criminal activity. Successful people leave themselves and the people around them better off than they were before. We take each day on its own terms and face it with dignity, humor, introspection, forgiveness, and a sense of generosity to ourselves and our neighbors.

Chantay Bridges, CNE, SRES


Coach | Realtor, Los Angeles Real Estate Now | Speaker & Writer

Success is having the sunshine on the inside of your heart because as you arise each day with a knowing that you are, you have and you will make a difference in the world you live in.

Success is not having on a designer gown but having a legacy that lives on even when you are not here.

Success is imprinting your signature in the next generation as a beacon of hope, a light that never stops shining. Leading the way with your example, testimony and courage that shows them, this is how you do it.

Success is earmarked by standing up for what is right and true when everyone else is going in the opposite direction. It’s doing the very thing God created you to do on this earth, without hesitation, reservation or delegation. You own it, you do it, you become it! You do what you do because that’s the reason you were born.

Martin Luther King was born to change the trajectory of a nation, Bill Gates came along to help make life a little easier, after discovering your “why”, you implement it, that’s success! Your “why”, your purpose, your footprint on the world.

Adam Cole


Author | Musician

The hard truth is: Success is whatever you define it to be. In every endeavor, you must decide for yourself what success means. If you don’t, two things may happen.

One: Someone else will define it for you, and their definition may not be appropriate to you. You may spend years trying to live up to someone else’s idea of success without realizing that it’s either impractical, unhealthy or impossible for you to achieve it. If you’re going to use someone else’s definition of success, do it intentionally and make it your own.

Two: If you don’t have a definition, then you’ll never know what success is. That means you’ll never reach success. In other words, you’ll always feel like you’ve failed.

So define success for anything you undertake. Monitor your progress towards that success, changing it as necessary along the way. And be sure to celebrate when you reach it!

Jay Lundy


Entrepreneur | Leadership Performance Expert, Spark Innovation

Success is about what you create it is about what you attract. To be successful you need to be a beacon of clarity, focus, order, and commitment.

  • Clarity brings an unambiguous vision of what lies ahead.
  • Focus identifies priorities that will. make the biggest difference.
  • The order provides structure and identifies the key steps needed to find success.
  • Commitment is the daily disciplines required to ahead and reach those milestones that lead to success.

Success takes time and therefore to make the most of the time you do have you need clarity, focus, order, and commitment.

Albert Tan Ming Dei


Co-Founder, SoothOil

Success is the ability to provide happiness to people you love. Not just soul mates, but family members. I started off from a poor, single-mother family. For the past 20 years, I watched her hustling day in day out – just to make sure my brothers and I never starve.

For me, success is being thrifty to myself, but generous to people I love. Success is to be able to see my Mum smile every single day, and not to hustle anymore but to enjoy life.

Success is to be able to provide warmth for my brothers, so that they would strive for what they love, and not be financially worried.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is success the same for everyone?

No, success isn’t the same for everyone. Success is a subjective concept that can vary significantly from person to person.
What one person considers successful may differ from another person’s definition of success. Success can be measured differently depending on your goals, values, and priorities.

For example, for one person, success may be achieving financial stability, while for another person, success is having a positive impact on others or the world.

For some people, the focus is on personal growth and development, while for others, the focus is on happiness and fulfillment.

It’s important to define success for yourself based on your own goals, values, and priorities. Don’t compare yourself to others or feel pressured to conform to someone else’s definition of success.

Success is a personal journey; what works for one person may not work for another. By focusing on your own path to success and staying true to your values, you can achieve success on your own terms.

Is success attainable for everyone?

Success is attainable for everyone, but the definition of success can vary greatly from person to person. What one person considers successful may differ from another person’s definition of success.

However, it’s essential to know that success often requires hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Some people may have advantages or privileges that make it easier for them to succeed, such as access to resources, education, or relationships.

But even if you don’t have these advantages, you can still succeed with effort and a positive attitude. It’s important to focus on your own goals and values and work toward success that is meaningful and fulfilling to you.

Remember that success is a journey, not a destination, and it’s never too late to start working on your goals.

How important is self-reflection to success?

Self-reflection is an essential component of success. It can help you identify your strengths, weaknesses, values, and goals. Self-reflection can also help you focus on your priorities and make decisions that are consistent with your values and goals.

Taking the time to reflect on your progress, learn from your experiences, and identify opportunities for improvement can help you be more successful in all areas of your life.

What are some of the most common misconceptions about success?

Success is based solely on talent. While talent can be helpful in achieving success, it’s not the only factor. Hard work, discipline, and a willingness to learn and improve are also important.

Success is about money and material possessions. Financial stability is essential, but success can also be measured in terms of personal growth, happiness, fulfillment, and positive influence on others.

Success is a one-time event. Success is a continuous process that involves constant learning, growth, and improvement. It’s not a one-time event that is achieved and then forgotten.

Success is easy. Achieving success requires hard work, dedication, and perseverance. It’s not always easy, but it can be rewarding and fulfilling.

Success is a destination. Success isn’t a fixed destination that you reach and then stop. It’s a journey that involves continuous growth and improvement.

Success is only for the lucky. While luck can play a role in success, it’s not the only factor. Success is often the result of hard work, dedication, and perseverance.

It’s important to recognize these misconceptions and focus on your own definition of success based on your values and goals.

Is it possible to be successful on your own?

While it’s possible to achieve some types of success alone, most success results from collaboration and support from others. Building a supportive network of family, friends, mentors, and colleagues can be helpful in achieving success.

Working with others can help you learn from others, gain new perspectives, and develop new skills. Supporting others can also help you stay motivated and focused on your goals. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or support when needed.

How do you deal with failures on the road to success?

Failures are an inevitable part of the path to success, and learning how to deal with them in a healthy and productive way is essential. Some tips for dealing with failures are:

– Don’t let it define you. View failure as a temporary setback and not a reflection of your value or abilities.
– Analyze the situation and learn from your mistakes. Use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve.
– Stay open to the feedback and support of others. Look for constructive criticism and encouragement to help you move forward.
– Stay committed to your goals. Remember why you started and focus on your vision of success.

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