Success: What is Your Definition?

Have you ever asked yourself what your definition of success is?

It may seem like a silly question, but I believe it's one that we need to ask ourselves more frequently. You see, we live in a world with billions of other people. We hear idea after idea, and story after story about success. We hear about the professions that make the most money; the people who have the most status. We dream of that new car, the wonderful house, and traveling the world. Some of us would love to be on stage, earning the applause of the many people who come to see us speak, sing, dance, or act. Surely these things must be success? Surely achieving these things are what we should strive for? Everyone has told us, since we can remember, that these are the types of things that define success.

But that's other people's definition of success. What about yours?

Maybe success it isn't about the new car, or the biggest house. Maybe it's about something much simpler. Maybe it's about the many accomplishments we achieve - but often overlook -- in our daily lives. It's the "hi" to the random stranger. It's the encouragement we give to our friends and families. Success is so much more than the narrow definition that mainstream society has turned it into. This is why now is the perfect time to really ask ourselves, "What's my definition of success?" and, "What does success mean to me?"

I had a chance the other day to talk to 7th graders from a charter school in Philadelphia. For months I had been one of their mentors but never really shared much about myself with them. During the last session, I decided to tell them about my story so that I could be more than just the "random mentor person." By the time I was done sharing with them, I just kept repeating that "anything is possible." That's all I wanted them to get from my story. I have no idea if that resonated with them; I was the random mentor person babbling about life, and dangerously close to talking too long! But I knew I had to at least share that with them.

In the past, maybe I wouldn't have said "anything is possible" to a group of 7th graders, for fear that they would think I was being cheesy, would get bored and would reject me. But you never know who needs to hear what you have to say. You never know who needs to see what you are going to do. And you never know whose life is affected by even the smallest things that you accomplish every day. So for me, to put that line out there and overcome the fear of rejection was a rousing success. And maybe the kids were listening. Maybe they'll run into a challenge one day, remember that the random mentor person said, "anything is possible," and proceed to overcome that challenge. Just the fact that such a thing could be the result of one line of motivation is a true success in itself.

So take some time and ask yourself: what brings you joy, fulfillment, and positively affects the world you live in? No accomplishment is insignificant. We should take inventory of the small things we do every day and realize that without those small achievements, "larger" ones would not be possible. And even if an accomplishment seems small to you, you never know how large of an impact that accomplishment may have on someone else. Even if you too, are the random mentor person.

So, what is your definition of success?