“Success is about more than simple resilience. It’s about using that downward momentum to people ourselves in the opposite direction. It’s about capitalizing on setbacks and adversity to become even happier, even more motivated, and even more successful.” – Shawn Achor
Years ago when I accepted my first job working in sales, I walked into the position with the intention of making tons of money and “making it big”. At the time, I firmly believed that the key to happiness lay in my pay cheque every two weeks. In order to increase my pay cheque, I read book after book on sales, so that I could become the best sales rep in the company. Within a year, I achieved that goal and earned an award for being in the top ranks of over 800 reps for my company. I had brought in just under half a million dollars in new business and had earned more money in a year than I had in the years before.
I thought that the praise, money and awards would make me happy because I believed that the definition of success was soley a result of how much money I had in my bank account. The truth was, even though I was riding on the success of my first year in sales, I was miserable. I hated the job, the people and the expectation that you lived and died by the numbers on your sales report. That got me thinking about what success really meant for me.
My definition of success today has changed drastically from what it was even a few years ago. Although professional success is important to me, a more holistic approach to my goals and life actually help me perform better.
For example, I’m definitely not the first person into the office in the morning. But these days that’s not important to me. Just because somebody puts more time in, doesn’t mean that their productivity or value to their company is any more than the next person. For me, I like to have the time to meditate, exercise and eat a healthy breakfast before I head on to work. This is important to me because this falls within my definition of success.
Other factors of success for me include:
– Earning the respect of people who I admire and who’s advice I would follow.
– Always being able to have the time to attend to personal matters if necessary.
– Being financially free to chase my dreams and achieve my goals (notice how I didn’t say rich?)
– Having great friends, advisors and mentors in my life who challenge me to perform better but also remind me when to stop and smell the roses.
– Owning a Mini Cooper (I’ve always wanted one since I was in high school)
– Having a reputation based on integrity, authenticity and delivery of results that increase value.
– Be independent of the good or bad opinion of others.
– Be able to handle rejection as a natural part of growth and taking risks.
– Have the time to exercise regularly and learn a new athletic skill every year.
These factors of success for me are what I aim for when I set my goals and make important decisions. While I know that these will change in time, for now this is the ideal definition of success for me.
So I leave you with the question….what’s your definition of success?