Reconsidering your Ideas of Success?

While exploring the idea of ‘re-framing failure‘ I must also examine the flip-side, and consider ‘redefining success’. Since I’m much quicker at assigning failure, I realised I don’t really know what success looks like for me…

Ideas of Success

My Graduation for Counselling Studies HNC

So what does success look like for you? For some people success comes in the form of achievement,  for others it’s praise and external validation, others see success as wealth and possessions. Or perhaps success is more ephemeral, measured in happiness and contentment?

A problem arises when you don’t have your own definition of success, how will you know it when you see it? I always thought success was ‘out there’, and the world would let me know when I’d achieved it. Too often my ideas of success gave the power of who defines it over to someone else. I put too much emphasis on external validation, (e.g. exam results, job-titles, getting published). While the hardest person to impress was always myself.

If success is in effect, that pat on the back we give ourselves for a job well done, then I have rarely felt it.  It might be hard to change habits of a lifetime, but if success truly is something we assign ourselves, then self validation is important, and the person whose opinion matters most is our own . The key is to listen to your guts about things you felt went well, and don’t forget to celebrate the small stuff.

I believe  notions of ‘Success’, like ‘Failure’, are much in need of revision. And the Secret of Success may just lie in who we allow to define it.

Now over to you;  what makes you feel like a success? I’d love to hear about it in the comments… 






  1. This is such an interesting question and set of insights. I don’t think I’ve got a lot to add for myself, because I don’t think I grew up with a sense of “success” as a possibility – the happy flipside I guess being that “failure” becomes a complete abstract at that point.

    There were things I wanted, but I was far too vague to think I could get them. (Hence my work ethic.)

    Looking at it now, I think ambition can be useful for getting one out of bed in the morning, but I’m suspicious of “success/failure” as a paradigm. I’m by no means the happiest of individuals, but I’ve seen a lot of anxiety caused by people chasing for success, and every time someone tries to describe what it means, it seems very… hazy or, well, again, abstract.

    (We can usually describe failure in much more concrete terms, but success seems to be an ever shifting goal.)

    But as I suggested, I’m not a great example… I didn’t really start even thinking in terms of life being something you had some control over until my mid 30s, and get far too much of my sense of self and self-worth from being a father of very young kids now in my 40s.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a question, that even I had struggled with, especially around the time of pregnancy. The question of taking a career break for my child was looming large and I was totally confused. Because, taking a break now, would mean I am setting my chances for getting a promotion back by at least 2 years. Hey, after all, a promotion is a big part of corporate success. But around the same time, I even started realizing that my job was not everything and that some things were more important. Though I am still the performance – conscious/anxious person that i was, the anxiety had toned down a lot.I realized that my parameters of success need not necessarily be based on the rat race that I am running. What exactly are the parameters is something that needs a lifetime to figure out. But i think at least I am on the right track.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well to me it would probably be ‘happiness’… depending on what I want to achieve it can as well be something I did not reach but that made me learn something… so maybe it could as well be growth?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree about growth and happiness. This is kind of what I am trying for in my life at the moment -learning from past experiences and efforts, I call it ‘reframing failure’, and it is helping me to evaluate my achievements and feel happier about what I’ve done in my life.


  4. Success! Is the track Iggy finished his concert in London earlier this year. Cracking end to an awesome show. The shout, and the call back of each line – fantastic! I was exhausted at the end.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s