Woah, that’s a doozy of a question. But hey, there is nothing to gain from shying away from difficult question, right?!
The unexamined life is not worth living and all.
Thanks for the advice Socrates.
Plus, what better time to consider the idea of success than here in mid-December as a rather tumultuous 2016 begins drawing to a close? So with that in mind, we will focus on this calendar year as we consider the question – are you successful? In framing the question, we will look at personal success, individual professional success, and the success of your business as a whole.
But first, let’s turn to one of my go-to rhetorical techniques from my high school debate days and start by looking at the dictionary definition of success. The Oxford English Dictionary definition no less, because that’s the only dictionary that really matters. There are about 15 different definitions, so we are going to have to cherry pick our favorite.
Success, n – The prosperous achievement of something attempted; the attainment of an object according to one’s desire: now often with particular reference to the attainment of wealth or position
There we go, a nice modern definition which of course alludes to “wealth or position”. In 2016, if you walk up to someone on the streets and ask them what the definition of success is, the odds are greatly in your favor that they will directly reference wealth, position, and power. For our piece here today, building a definition of success around those core concepts feels rather uninteresting. Rather than seeing them as the concrete end-goals of success, we would prefer to them as results of success.
With that in mind we can prune the rather cliché addendum to our definition and simply use, “the prosperous achievement of something attempted” as our rubric for grading success.
Hey there, you. Ya, you! Let’s get a little personal. How are you doing right now? How are you feeling? Whatcha think about this year that just went by? Would you call it a personal success?
We are starting off with personal success because we genuinely believe it is a vital element of achieving success in the other two categories which we are going to discuss. If we were building a success pyramid, we would place personal success down at the base, stack individual professional success on top of that, and finally, place the success of your business on the apex of the structure.
In order to stack those pieces up, you NEED to make sure you have a strong foundation. And there is no stronger foundation that personal success.
Our word of advice, spend some time focusing on yourself, the things you care about, and your goals and aspirations that exist outside of the confines of work. Depending on who you are, your personal success could be tied to your hobbies, your time spent with family, or it could be something less concrete. Maybe for you, it would be personal success to go backing packing in Thailand for two weeks by yourself. Or it could be learning to cook.
Achieving personal success will fill you with the type of confidence and energy that will spill over into other areas of your life. Such a boost can be transformative to your professional life and thus to the success of your business as well.
The question we asked was – are you successful?
So, using our definition, was your personal life a success this year? Did you achieve something you attempted?
Well, either way, it’s okay! Because we lied to you. Success isn’t just about attempting and succeeding. Just listen to Winston Churchill, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
So try. Try at something. Throw yourself into it, headlong and with abandon. Care about it. And regardless of the results, you can say you have achieved a measure of personal success.
And that it is for part one of this blog series.
In our next post here on the Helix House blog, we are going to dive into the meaty issues of personal business success, and the success of your business overall!
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