Merriam-Webster defines it as “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame,” but is this how most of us interpret success?
If you were to ask the late acclaimed author Maya Angelou the same question, her definition of success would be about enjoying your work. Her take on success: “is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
But! Before you start striving for success, it’s important exactly what success means to you. How do you know if you’re successful or on track to achieving success? What does being successful really mean – and, just as importantly, how can you measure it in your own life?
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh writes in his memoir “Delivering Happiness” says, “success is about living in accordance with your values. Your personal core values define who you are, and a company’s core values ultimately define the company’s character and brand”. We’ve drawn much of our own inspiration in building our company, Chill with these similar ideals.
At the heart of it; there’s no right or wrong answer by which you define success. What success means to you is likely to be different from what it means to me, or anyone else.
We’ve been part of a very humbling experience. We’ve been featured in Vero’s National Insurance campaign about “protecting your success by inspiring others to achieve theirs.” To us, success means being cool under pressure. It’s about making smart choices. It’s about continual growth, but not at all costs. Having the right people with you to achieve great things together & sharing the success is critical. Yet this all means very little if you don’t take stock of where you are, what’s been achieved & where you’re going!
Let’s face it you could work really hard to get something you wanted, only to find that when you got there it was empty? As Thomas Merton simply puts it; “most people spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to realise, when they get to the top, the ladder has been leaning against the wrong wall.”
In other words, we’re often so busy climbing the ladder of success that we never take the time to see if our ladder is leaning against the right wall. Everybody is climbing a ladder. It is a figurative ladder, of course, …(unless you’re a painter or roofer). But we are all moving one direction in life, whether it be up or down. Most of these ladders we scale intentionally, like education or developing a talent, chasing that big client, working our way up in a company, writing a book, etc. Perhaps, some ladders we climb just because we never chose another one.
We believe success has everything to do with your mindset. Your habits, attitudes and the way you behave. Where you expend your energy. Whatever your goal of success looks and feels like, industry respect, happy customers, balanced life, profits, it’s only going to be achievable when you develop attitudes and habits that support and drive this success.
People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing, Dale Carnegie, quoted in Permission to Play. Sir Richard Branson would agree in his book The Virgin Way: If It’s Not Fun, It’s Not Worth Doing. Branson was famous for thinking outside the box—an expression he despises—but Branson asserts that “you’ll never have to think outside the box if you refuse to let anyone build one around.” And it’s no secret to anyone who has come into contact with the Chill business that having fun is one of our key ingredients to success.
It’s a good thing that we each define success differently because true success for you might be simply living out your unique life’s purpose. As Anne Sweeney eloquently puts it, “define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.”