Redefining Success

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”

Albert Einstein

How do you define success?

Success can look so different for each one of us.

As a leader at a large company, I see success often defined by numbers – profit, revenue, order intake, market share, etc. These KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) provide an indication of how well we are doing from a business standpoint. My team is seen as successful when we meet or exceed the targets set for us related to these KPIs.

I am part of a mastermind group for entrepreneurs facilitated by Ellory Wells. This is a place where I have the opportunity to be encouraged, challenged, and held accountable for some things I am pursuing outside of my job. I specifically have used this group to help me find success for my writing, for my Guatemala pursuits, and for the Stretched Men Group. There are people in Ellory’s mastermind group who are pursuing other entrepreneurial pursuits – digital marketing business, vacation rental business, pest control business, copy writing business, etc.

On our call this week, we were asked to share our biggest wins from 2019. Others on the call began sharing about the financial growth they had experienced in 2019 or the growth in their client base or email list they saw in 2019. As I listened to these wins, I quickly began to feel inadequate. I began to feel like a failure. My “side hustle” pursuits had not led to a significant financial gain. In fact, I’ve probably spent more money in my side pursuits than I’ve earned from a financial standpoint. Accountants would refer to these pursuits as a hobby as opposed to a business.

As I was listened to the wins of my peers, I began to think about what I would share. How do I define success when it comes to these pursuits? Then it hit me. My success was directly related to people and the change I was able to see in others – or help others see in their lives. Here’s what I shared with the group:

  1. I helped two families get new homes in Guatemala in July.
  2. I expanded my network and connected with others at the Family Lines Facilitator Summit in Leavenworth, WA in April.
  3. I helped a recently divorced father find community and connection through the Stretched Men Group (SMG).
  4. I helped a young husband and father discover new balance at home through the SMG.
  5. I helped a man return to a vocation that aligns with his passion, his skill, and his past experience through the SMG.
  6. Leanne and I helped 9 couples strengthen their marriages through the Dynamic Marriage program we facilitated in the spring.

After I shared these wins with the other people on the mastermind call, there was an initial silence. Then the people on the call began to share their thoughts on my wins. They shared their own feelings of inadequacy upon hearing how people’s lives had been impacted this past year through my “entrepreneurial pursuits.” They affirmed me and the steps I was taking outside of my corporate job to impact the world. They showed me that I actually had a successful year.

“The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.”

Zig Ziglar

How do you define success?

Success is not just a number. It’s not a certain balance in your bank account. It’s not just about market share. It’s not about how well you are doing compared to your competitors.

Success is about impact. Success is about effectively using the time, the resources, and the talents you have been given.

As we head into the time of year when many of us (including me) take time to set goals for the year ahead, I encourage you to think about what kind of impact you want to have. I encourage you to consider how you can effectively use your time, your resources, and your skills and experience. Set goals that align with this definition of success.

How do you define success?

My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:1-6 (ESV)