What is the definition of success?
Or to put it more succinctly, how does success look to you? What form does it take in your mind?
And most important of all, what must happen for you to achieve your definition of success?
Why It’s Okay For Your Definition Of Success To Look Different From Mine
I was listening to a podcast this morning wherein the discussion centered around the definition of success and how it means different things to different people. And it got me thinking about small business owners and their perception of success.
When you think about your success in your small business, what comes to mind?
Do you dream of being a multi-millionaire jetting off to places all over the world? Does a big, fancy, expensive home and car enter into the picture for you?
Or does a simpler life, lived on your terms, have greater appeal to you?
As it turns out, both of these visions are definitions of success. Which one you relate to is as individual as you are. Your ideal life very well may look different from mine.
And yet, if we do things right, take the necessary steps, we’ll both attain our definition of success. It doesn’t matter how it looks compared to anyone else’s.
And that’s the beauty of the definition of success. It’s not a one-size-fits-all concept. The trick is identifying what your definition of success is and then building a life that fits that picture.
The Power Of Envisioning Your Version Of Success
When you begin your journey as a small business owner, you strive to attain some level of success. You envision a thriving business with plenty of satisfied clients or customers.
You wonder if and hope you’ll just make enough money to keep moving forward, with the eventual goal of sustaining your preferred lifestyle.
If you’re lucky, you’ll vastly improve your quality of living.
But where do you draw the line? At what point are you content that you’ve attained your definition of success? And by what yardstick are you measuring that success?
And perhaps the bigger question is, have you allowed yourself to get sucked into a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality?
Because once you start worrying about what anyone else thinks, you’ve lost sight of your dreams. You’ve handed the reins over to someone else.
You’ve forgotten what your definition of success is because you’ve started to see it through someone else’s eyes.
Comparing yourself and your definition of success to anyone else’s is the end of your freedom. It’s the killer of your happiness.
Who Cares What The Joneses Are Doing?
I don’t know about you, but for me, the definition of success is happiness. It’s freedom.
A lot of money is not necessarily an indicator of success.
Yes, money is important. You need money to buy food, to pay for a place to live and to use toward life’s necessities. No one will dispute that.
False Symbols Of The Definition Of Success
But the pursuit of money with the sole objective of impressing others, at least in my humble opinion, is not a measure of success.
Pursuing adulation and adoration from others is the equivalent of putting them in charge. And you didn’t start your business so you could answer to someone else.
What If You Don’t Know What Anyone Else Is Doing?
What if you couldn’t see what anyone else was doing? You don’t know what kind of house they live in, or what kind of car they drive, or how many vacations they take every year.
When you stop comparing yourself to others and worrying about how they perceive you, you’re free to do what makes you happy.
If an expensive home isn’t your idea of the attainment of success, why go into debt just to impress someone else?
But these days, or maybe it’s always been this way, it’s too easy to get caught up in having expensive things just so other people will oh and ah.
The truth is, these other people, they don’t really care. You just think they do.
Set yourself free of what others think and build the life that gives you freedom, that provides you with happiness.
The Futility Of Trying To Impress Others
This quote from Dave Ramsey pretty much sums up my thoughts on working just to impress others. It’s stupid, not to put too fine a point on it.
Now, to be sure, building your own business is going to involve work. And you need a reasonable income to be able to put a roof over your head and feed your family. That’s just reality.
But when your focus is more on the enjoyment of life than on the almighty dollar, for most of us, the resulting happiness is more valuable than expensive objects, no matter how impressive we believe them to be.
Freedom equals happiness any day of the week.
Build Your Lifestyle Business, Your Way, On Your Terms
When I look at my life as a freelance writer, I know that having tons of clients and working long hours is not my idea of contentment.
If I wanted to work that much, I’d get a real job instead of working for myself. Being my own boss means I get to call the shots and make the decisions.
And that’s just the way I like things.
I may not have the fanciest house in the city. My car may be a few years old and lacks some of the bells and whistles of the newer cars, but it’s paid for and gets me where I want to go pretty comfortably and safely. That’s good enough for me.
Being strapped to objects, to things, to impress other people doesn’t look like freedom to me.
And freedom is my definition of success. So are peace and tranquility.
So I’ll let the Joneses buy the big house, the boat, the expensive car, and strut about impressing people they probably don’t even like.
I’ll be over here, sitting by my little pool with my dogs, slowly building my writing business, doing a little reading and whatever else I feel like doing, and enjoying the life I’m building.
I may not be wealthy, but I’m happy.
To me, there’s no greater measure of success.
How do you measure success in your life? What are you doing to build your lifestyle business? Drop a comment below and let’s get the conversation started.