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What Makes You Successful?

Jump for Joy
Image by Scott Ableman via Flickr

In case you missed it, Chris Brogan has a tremendous three part video series on his blog that talks about success. You can check them out here: Overnight Success; Call to Arms; and No Excuses.

I totally recommend watching them all, but wanted to expound on the topic of what makes a person successful…

Textbook Definition

I remember the lesson like it was yesterday. We covered the topic of success in Management 301 my junior year at the Zoo and the answer really resonated with me. What I found out was that success starts and ends with me. I can’t define your success and you can’t define mine. We can only define success for ourselves, and to me that’s another funny thing about goals.

To imagine that somebody who doesn’t share my goals, can be equally successful to me in his or her own eyes made me stop and think about a lot of things. For starters, how liberating is the idea of that? You are in charge of you…

Congratulations. You knew that already.

If you didn’t though, after you wrap your head around that concept you can start to think about what really matters to you. I have an idea of what success looks like for me, and it involves large wads of cash (security), international acclaim (notoriety), and a balanced family life (stability). Sometimes these goals work together, and sometimes they work against each other. I get to keep all the balls in the air along the way.

Two Types Of Success

Which leads me into an entirely different thought altogether. There is definitely destination success: I’m at Point A and want to get to Point B. But I think that there is en-route success as well. How well am I doing, while I work to achieve my goals. The movie Click personifies this concept, in my mind, as Adam Sandler trades the journey for the destination and ends up regretting his mistake.

My destination goals are the cash and the respect, but my journey goal is for the C-Unit (my family) to make it together. sidenote: The “Everyone Makes It” mentality was drilled into my head for a substantial period of my formative years. If I must sacrifice one goal to achieve any other goal, then I will not consider myself to be successful in this instance.

The journey and the destination both matter equally.

What Do You Think?

Are you able to define your own success in this day and age, or are you destined to only be as successful as [insert here] wants you to be? Are there two parts to being successful: where you go and how you get there? Or is that hippie talk? Let me know what you think in the comments below.