4 Questions I Asked Myself to Define Success

Have you ever stopped and thought about your definition of success? We often go to experts and their expert advice for direction—to show us the way to wealth, respect, fame—believing that to get to their same level of success, we’ve got to follow in their exact footsteps, do precisely as they did. But in reality success isn’t the same for that person as it is for you.

Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington told SUCCESS in 2013, “My mother instilled in me that failure was not something to be afraid of, that it was not the opposite of success. It was a steppingstone to success. So I had no fear of failure. Perseverance is everything. I don’t give up. Everybody has failures, but successful people keep on going.”

Spiritual Teacher Deepak Chopra believes that success is a matter of constant growth. “I define success as the following,” Chopra told SUCCESS in 2009. “No. 1, the progressive realization of worthy goals. No. 2, the ability to love and have compassion. No. 3, to be in touch with the creative source inside you. And No. 4, to ultimately move from success to significance.”

Billionaire Sir Richard Branson actually asked himself his definition of success on Virgin’s blog. His definition of success is “The more you’re actively and practically engaged, the more successful you will feel.”

One thing these key influencers’ definitions have in common is the theme of wanting to reach their fullest potential and leave a legacy.

Now, don’t get me wrong. It is important to have role models in our lives, but we’ve got to follow our own definition of success, to use it as a guiding light, to determine the dreams that are synonymous with our version of a successful life. If we were to follow someone else’s description, we’d find ourselves at the wrong final destination, living their dreams, not ours.

Do you want to reach your fullest potential—the one that fits into your interpretation of success? Then you first have to establish your own definition of the concept.

Here are 4 questions to ask yourself:

1. If I could leave a legacy right now, what legacy would that be?
2. Why is this legacy a rock in my life, the foundation to my success?
3. How will I know that I’m living in alignment with my legacy?
4. How can I start achieving my definition of success?

SUCCESS Publisher Darren Hardy says, “I am obsessed with tracking, measuring and monitoring my way toward a goal. I live for new entries in life’s greatest passbooks—love, health, finance, business and family.”

Think about it: What are the passbooks in your life? What does success mean to you? It’s time to become obsessed with fulfilling your definition.

See what personal development expert Zig Ziglar says success is—and what it isn’t.


Tiffany Mason is a certified relationship coach, speaker and author. She is the founder of Mason Coaching and Consulting, a lifestyle coaching firm based in New York, where she empowers women entrepreneurs to design a meaningful life and marriage.

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