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What does Success mean?

We often wish people success in their new ventures and in their lives. It’s a simple word, only seven letters long. We use it regularly so we must know what it means, right?

Early in the coaching process a coach will ask “what does success mean to you?” If we all know what success is why ask the question? There are two reasons, the first is that each one of us has a different model of success, so it’s best not to make assumptions. The second is that the coach wants to start a thinking process, one that not many people have spent time consciously thinking about.

To work toward stress-frees success, we must first understand what it means, to ourselves.

Climbing the Ladder of Success

There is an often-quoted story of someone climbing the ladder of success only to find it is against the wrong wall. If only we could find the right wall before we put the effort into climbing.

Was it the wrong wall? You might need to climb that wall to see the view from the top, so you can decide which path to take on the next part of your journey. The view from the top is better than the view from the bottom.

Let us be kind to ourselves, let us pick the wall that feels like the best one right now. Let’s accept that the view may be different when we get to the top.

Life Stages

Success will also mean different things at various stages of your life.

When you first try walking you will stumble, success comes later once walking become so easy that you do not have to think about it.

When you start your first job you might define success as being able to earn money for food. Later, you may feel that you will not be successful until you own the company or your own home or have a million in the bank.

Your Model of Success

If we each have a unique model of success, what are the elements in yours? What defines success for you? Like any life goal, or work project, it’s worth having a clear idea of where you’d like to be heading.

Make some time to check in with your model of success and see if it means anything to you. If you’re not clear on what it means you will have difficulty reaching stress-free success.


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