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Success: Define Your Own!


Success: Define Your Own!
By Debra Thorsen

Many of us are prisoners of our own success. Maybe we started our careers with a goal of climbing the corporate ladder or earning $X per year or ________________ (fill in the blank).

We then achieve success, are “respected” by our peers, have a nice big house full of great stuff, take nice vacations….. And yet, we often think, “Is this all that there is?” We have a sense of emptiness inside.

I think many of us experience this “mid-life crisis” because we have borrowed society’s definition of success instead of crafting our own definition of personal success.

Take a moment and write down the Definition of Success that has guided your decisions and actions up until now. You don’t have to agree with it, but put down on paper what has been lurking in your mind.

My Current Definition of Success:

Where did you get your current definition of success? From your parents or teachers or spouse? Are you trapped by a definition of success that you don’t even agree to?

It’s time to create your very own personalized definition of success.

Here are some alternative definitions of success for you to consider and reflect upon:

“Too often, people focus only on results. But getting results without learning something or without having fun are incomplete. So is having fun without getting the results, or having fun without learning something new to help and empower you in the future. Accomplishment is all three: the result, personal growth, and having fun.”
-Peter L. Hirsch

“There are many aspects to success; material wealth is only one component….But success also include good health, energy and enthusiasm for life, fulfilling relationships, creative freedom, emotional and psychological stability, a sense of well-being, and peace of mind.”
- Deepak Chopra

“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; who life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction.”
- Bessie Stanley as published in the Lincoln Sentinel on Nov. 30, 1905. Mrs. Stanley won $250 in an essay contest by the George Livingston Richards Co of Boston, MA

What is YOUR definition of success? If you found yourself at the end of this lifetime, what would you like to be remembered for? Would your current occupation, career, and accomplishments make you feel like a success? What would you regret either having done or not having done?

Remember, you are free to change this definition of success on a daily, weekly, or yearly basis. Have fun. Put pen to paper and do a draft version.


Make several copies of your Definition of Success and hang it where you can see it: your bathroom mirror, your computer, the dashboard of your car, the refrigerator, etc.

Does your definition inspire you? Give you energy? Does it inspire you to work and play and have fun? If not, tweak it until it does.

Now, given your definition, where are you on a scale of 1-10? What is missing in your life? What do you want to change?

This is not a process of beating yourself up or dwelling on the past. You are creating a definition to pull you forward and inspire your tomorrows.

After absorbing your new definition of success, are you inspired to stay in your current job or seek something more to your liking and better suited to your natural talents? If you decide to make a change, consider hiring a coach who can guide you through the process and even make it easy and fun!

About the Author

(c)Debra Thorsen, can help you achieve success, happiness, and wealth outside of the corporate world. Debra has an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University and a BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Virginia. mailto:coach@corporaterebels.com or visit www.corporaterebels.com


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