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Define Your Own Success: Here are 5 Steps to Help

Excited colleagues celebrating success together with colleagues on city street

What is Success?

Success. How do you begin defining this? To different people, this word means a lot of things, but what success means to me may not be the same for you. So, what does it take to be successful in life? How do you define your own success?

If we look into the dictionary, success is defined as “an accomplishment to one’s goal”, meaning success is something that is about the outcome we want to have in our life.

What do you want to achieve? What do you want to get out of your life?

Here are 5 steps to help you define your own success:

Ask Yourself the Question

“What Does Success Looks Like For Me?”

Here we are again, asked with a question that may seem simple enough at first glance, but can be very complex once you really think about it. Whatever comes into your mind, jot it down. Write it in a piece of paper or type it in your phone’s note app. Think about what success looks like for you, whether it’s bold and grand or simple and humble. Anything goes.

Define Your Own Success

Ignore What Other People May Think

Step two is crucial and where it gets kinda difficult.

Some people won’t agree about what you would consider success is for you. Some, or even most people view success as being measured up against each other. This can start as early at home as we’re being compared to our siblings, our cousins, or even our neighbors.

This mentality of being compared to someone who has slightly “more success” than we do creates a barrier, a feeling of inferiority, that we have to measure up with them so we would be as “successful” as they are.

The truth is, other people’s success is different from ours. Other people’s success doesn’t matter. Their success is not your success. Success is not measured in how much money you have or how many sports cars you own; it’s about what you truly want out of life.

Only you can define your own success, and if it’s about more money or fame or prestige you want, then have at it. Just make sure that it’s something that you wholeheartedly want and not just because it’s what others have. If these things make you happy then go for it!


Be Specific

In this third step, I want you to go in-depth with what is it that you want. You’ve listed down what success is for you, now it’s time to look further into it.

Create a scene in your head and expand on that main idea.

For example, you want to be successful in a particular hobby, let’s say calligraphy. How much time are you willing to invest in this hobby every day? What time of the day are you going to sit down and practice your strokes? Are you willing to spend on the materials that you are going to use? Do you want to learn by enrolling in some online classes or joining in workshops? Do you want to earn in this hobby? And so on.

The more specific you are with what you want to achieve, the more attached and determined you are to it. It will become a focus and part of your life that even when times get tough, you will allow yourself to whether the odds by not giving up because you are passionate enough to persevere.

Make A Plan

Oftentimes, we tell ourselves that this is what we want but not doing anything to make it happen. Success does not happen overnight, you have to work for it. Make a plan, manage your time better, and take action. What are the things you need to do to get closer to achieving your dream? Go for it, step by step. It doesn’t matter how long the journey is as long as you make the effort, no matter how small, to reach for your goals.

Make it Happen

Now that you have clearly defined what success means to you, it’s time to make it happen. You got this!

The meaning of success is unique to each person. I know the definition of success for me, but I can’t tell you what it is because that is for you to decide.

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