Why Defining Success For Yourself Matters

Upon graduation or even until today, most of us think that success in a career will be defined by three obvious recognition: getting salary raises, promotion, and big bonuses. And finally, move on to the next ‘what-so-called’ career journey and continuing that ‘success’ cycle (with nicer titles, of course). However, have you ever thought whether all of those truly represent your definition of success?

I don’t think so.

Of course, getting salary raise, promotion and big bonuses are all nice. But, it doesn’t mean that all of those will instantly fill your life with abundance either. You may be happy for a while yet all of them are actually just a milestone. It’ll never be the end goal. Face it: success is no longer about who gets promoted early or who earns more money or who can jump from one job to another faster than the others. In fact, that’s a very narrow definition of success. The path to your success begins by asking yourself, “what makes me happy?”

The key to living your own success is to first acknowledge that you’re unique, valuable and most importantly, not less-than the others. You have to realize that when it comes to career or life or anything, knowing your own terms (re: guiding principles and core values) is crucial. 

Here are some ways to discover your own definition of success in life (so that people can’t walk all over you):

Mantra #1: “To me my career to yours your career

First thing first, never ever focus on other people’s standards of success. Some of us may look for money, power, or pride. While others searching for something bigger (and somewhat intangible) such as purpose. There’s nothing wrong with either options. Like I said before, everyone has their own preferences and choices which eventually leads them to different journeys. It’s easy to get fixated when you see your peers (seems) moving faster than you in terms of career/life, yet if you focus on them — you may overlook your own path of greater success. 

So if you feel like quitting your job and start a new one will make you more successful, go for it. Otherwise, if you feel like staying in your current job will help you build your career capital better, then stay. Don’t follow others because everyone has different standards, issues, and limitations in their life.

Mantra #2: Don’t force an outcome.

As a normal human being, we are all have the need for closure. Just like startup founders who can’t wait to get their next funding (even though he/she just get one recently), we tend to rush things to see if we will eventually reach our desired outcome.

If you work on a project and you already start to think the time you’ll quit or say goodbye to that project — most likely you won’t enjoy the process.

If you just recently get a funding for your business and you start to strategising for the next funding — instead of focusing on the problem you aim to solve (with that funding), then you missed the whole point.

Many of us unwittingly conditioned to think our success happens when we passed certain parameters defined by society. There’s nothing wrong with setting up a target, in fact we all should do it. Yet, you have to understand that the process of getting there is as much important as finally achieving it. Don’t rush things that need times to grow.

Knowing your terms doesn’t mean you should slow down and accept whatever universe throws at you, yet it means you have to experience (and explore) more on what YOU think best for YOU — not what others may think of you.

Remember, we all have different path and priorities in life. For me, there’s no such a thing as ‘too late’ or ‘too old’ to be who you might have been, to rediscover yourself, or even to start all over again.

Mantra #3: Focus on Adding Value

You are more than your role, your money, your title, your status, etc. Seriously, you’re more than that. Many people, much of the time, put their attention and obsess over the wrong things — which are all material and has a ‘price’.

But, what’s important isn’t about your title or the money you get, it’s always about the work you did and the impact you made. Think, how you’d like people to remember you?

Focus on the value you can provide. Nothing else matters, really.

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