When trying to determine if we are or are not successful, we need to ask ourselves some evaluative questions. Defining a “win” may not be as easy as counting numbers or assessing the response of the crowd. I am not saying the questions listed below are THE 5 questions of success; they are only 5 among many. But I do believe these five are valid and worthy of our consideration.
Consider your last project or event, and ask these questions:
Is it bigger than you?
If what we are involved in does not surpass our immediate sphere of existence, it may not qualify as a success. There is something awesome about knowing that your influence ripples beyond what you can personally reach. Three and four tier impact is a huge thumbs up.
Will it outlast you?
This question causes us to dig a little. We are shooting for the longevity element. If your accomplishments die with you, claiming victory may be an overstatement. If years after you are in the ground your legacy still speaks, job well done.
Was there forward movement?
It won’t fly to say, “I occupied space successfully” or “I achieved my goal of surviving my career”. When your effort is concluded – is there progress?; has anything been achieved?; did it make a difference to anything or anyone? If not, you probably shouldn’t use the word “success” to label your activity.
Did it center on others?
Considering that one of the major purposes of our existence is to make the world a better place in which to live, any task that focuses on the needs of other people has to be at least considered as being a success. I realize that we have to take care of ourselves, but putting others first always ups the ante when it comes to considerations of true achievement.
Did it result in true peace of mind?
It is easy to console yourself when you fail and settle for a “it could have been worse” attitude. This is not success. True accomplishment of a goal results in inner peace and satisfaction that can’t be manufactured.
Bottom line is, I believe we have watered down the idea of success. Everyone is not a winner. Not everyone receives the gold medal. Let’s raise the standard once again of what true success actually means.