Close your eyes and think of the most successful people whom you know. How would you describe them? If you are like most, it might sound something like this: They have it all, power, influence, great homes, nice cars. They take awesome vacations and their kids go to the best schools. People listen to them, maybe even slightly fear them. They hang out with other beautiful and influential people. Everyone wants to get close to them. Life is good.
They have it all, power, influence, great homes, nice cars.
Sadly, we are confused. None of these things are indicative of true success. You can have them all, and still not be successful. You can have none of them, and be wildly so. Somehow, we have morphed what it means to succeed into one's ability to acquire status, influence and wealth. This warped belief system can diminish the impact people have in their homes, businesses and communities. Is not a dad, who with pride spends his days working hard on an assembly line and then returns home to the love and adoration of his family, successful? How about a caregiver who spends her days ensuring that some one else's final ones are comfortable, or the street busker who plays her music on the corner to a crowd that spontaneously has surrounded her? Success is not defined by acquisition. Rather, it is about living one's life with purpose.
Our misconception of the true meaning of success often leads to a life of grasping, consumption and self-absorption. We compare and contrast, and if our cars, house or clothes fall short of others, so must our level of success. We bend our beliefs and break our absolutes. This version of success causes us to think small and act selfishly. It is at the root of most corporate malfeasance and contributes to the demise of many relationships. It destroys trust and corrupts virtue. We need to reset the standard. The question is how do we do that.
We compare and contrast, and if our cars, house or clothes fall short of others, so must our level of success.
Success is not bequeathed. We don't award it to one another. Only you can decide if you are successful. It requires that you are living with purpose. One must have an internal understanding of why they are here and what they are meant to do. It entails having vision. You need to be able to see the future state and take the needed action now to get there. After all, you can't run a race if you don't know what the finish line looks like. Furthermore, it requires the establishment of a set of core values that guide you and cannot be bent or broken in the pursuit of any objective. These include not only the moral imperatives such as honesty and integrity, but also those values that you hold as important such as family, fun, knowledge and humor. Mostly what it takes is a reassignment of what is truly important.
Only you can decide if you are successful.
Don't get me wrong, having power, influence, beautiful homes and nice cars is great. But, it doesn't necessarily mean that you are successful. These things are fleeting. What really matters, when all is said and done, is what you do and how you feel about doing it. We need to reset the standard for success and that reset button is within you.
I am sure not everyone reading this agrees, and that is the beauty of social media. It is a reciprocal form of communication. So share your thoughts as I always welcome a spirited debate. Leave your comments below and I will do my best to respond to each and every one.
Thanks for reading.
Elliot Begoun is a Business Growth Specialist and the Principal of The Intertwine Group. His purpose is to grow businesses and business leaders. He helps organizations establish strategic guardrails, develop integrative leaders, foster employee enlightenment and practice mindful marketing. Elliot works with businesses internationally serving as a consultant, coach, speaker and facilitator.
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