Creating Success On Your Own Terms by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC

The metaphor of life as a journey often includes the image of a map. The starting point of the map is where you are today, and the destination is a place where you have a sense of personal, professional, and life success.

It is not uncommon for this destination, this position of success, to be vague and unclear for many people. It is also prevalent for the definition of success to be the ideas of someone else, a group, or even the larger society.

In reality, success is a very personal thing. If the destination of your life’s journey does not create a point of happiness and contentment, is it really success? With this in mind, the first step to getting to a place of happiness, personal satisfaction, and contentment is in defining that eventual destination in a way that is meaningful and relevant to you.

Success is very rarely one thing. It is not a dollar amount in your bank account, although living comfortably and being able to do things you want to do may be part of your definition of success. It is not a big house, a specific type of car, or even a professional title or position. Instead, success is a combination of who you are, what you want to do with your life, and what you have accomplished.

What You Want To Accomplish 

A good way to start developing a personal definition of success is to write down what you want to accomplish in your life moving forward. Your accomplishments in the past may contribute to your happiness and sense of self-esteem. Still, they are not likely to be everything you want to do in your future.

This personal definition of success does not need to be the same as your friends, colleagues, or even your family. It may be something very different, and it may not be on the same route your life journey has been heading to this point. However, it is something that is of importance to you, and it resonates with who you are and what you believe about the world around you.

For example, a child may grow up in a family where success is measured by the house you own, the car you drive, the profession you work in, and the money you have in the bank. This child may grow up pursuing a career that earns a top salary and provides all of these things. Still, no matter how he or she matches up to this external definition of accomplishment, there is always a sense of missing out. Changing the view of success from what the family wants to what the individual strives to accomplish is the only way to remove that gap.

Taking a close look at what you value and find meaningful, and how you see your ideal life is the first step in defining success on your terms. After you have a personal definition of success clearly in mind, the next step is setting the route and putting in the hard work and perseverance to the destination.