What Is Your Definition Of Success?

What Is Your Definition Of Success?

“Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.”

~Arnold H. Glasow


This really is a great quote. Not only is it interesting but also inspiring.


One of the truths that I find most frustrating as a mentor and a coach is that many people believe that success, in whatever field of endeavor they are currently striving for, is rather like winning the lottery. In fact, it certainly seems from the evidence that they in fact believe that success is even more random because they aren’t even buying a ticket. They are simply passively waiting. If you listen to people talk you won’t hear many people voicing this opinion of success but look around you and watch what people are actually doing–or rather not doing–and you will quickly see what I mean.


Many people want things–they want to be rich, they want to be at the top of their profession, they want a successful marriage, they want to raise great kids, they want to be respected in their community, and so on. But what do they do to achieve this success? Are they working both hard and smart toward their financial goals and living frugally while they do so? Are they constantly learning and striving at their job? Are they showing their spouse love, consideration, understanding, and generosity? Are they spending time with their children both modeling how to be a good person and being generous with their love and understanding? Are they regularly proving themselves an asset within their community by being a good neighbor in every sense of the word?


We all know that we must accomplish these tasks as I set them out to achieve success in these areas. Probably I missed something as well. I am hardly a model of success in every area. I would in fact describe myself as fair to middling. I am certainly not rich but the bills get paid and our basics and then some are covered without too much stress. Those around me think I am doing a pretty good job as well as those that I serve professionally. While my marriage is in fairly good shape I know I could certainly put more into it. I know I have great kids but know well my failings as a father, which I am constantly working on. I contribute to my community but nowhere near the level that I could or should.


How do you define success?


Is it money, career, love, marriage, family, friendship, respect, community?


For me, success is primarily about giving. How many lives do I touch with mine? How many hearts? Who has been changed by my existence in a positive way? I hope that people judge me as a good person. If I can have a single conversation daily that helps make someone else’s life better then that’s a successful day.