Redefining Success: Be True to Who You Are to Find Joy

UPDATED: April 22, 2023
PUBLISHED: October 16, 2017
woman redefines success as doing what brings joy

John Gray, co-founder of Relentless Church, addresses the SUCCESS Live Long Beach crowd with a jolting observation in his talk about redefining success: “And then you’ve got Irma, Jose, Katia,” he says. “All within three days, getting ready to hit land. Maybe the Earth is trying to tell us something.” 

After further discussion, he pauses for a second, but the silence of the conference hall holds an audible weight. “I don’t know if you realize this, but the Earth is letting us know something is wrong,” he says.

Gray chose to leave the “something” in particular open to interpretation. But he says that in times of crisis, particularly during natural disasters, our differences—things like race, wealth and political affiliation—shouldn’t matter. When we see another human in distress, we must simply respond. 

Redefine what success means

“It is imperative to you as leaders and entrepreneurs and visionaries to understand that whatever success comes to you in this season of your life is not just for you to run off somewhere…. If you have been given a vision that will reach other people, you must now look and say, ‘How can I lift someone else up?,’” he says. For those who have the ability to make a difference on a global scale, success should be redefined and used to lift others up as they chase their dreams.

“The success of one needs to be the blessing for all. When you have been given something of great substance and significance, it is not for you to hoard it and to keep it to yourself. It is for you to determine that whatever you have been entrusted with is not just for you to accumulate, but to be a good steward, so that those who don’t have can at least have a chance to achieve their dreams as well,” he says.

Filmed September 2017 at SUCCESS Live in Long Beach. Explore more SUCCESS Talks videos by topic on SUCCESS magazine’s YouTube Channel, featuring thought-leaders, authors, entrepreneurs and respected researchers in the fields of human psychology, brain health, relationships and more, who share the tried-and-true tenets of human achievement and success.

This article was updated April 2023. Photo by fizkes/Shutterstock

John Gray is a pastor, author and musician. He currently serves as an associate pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas under the leadership of Pastor Joel Osteen.