How to Define Success on Your Own Terms

Gabby Ianniello

What is success?

The actual definition of success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, but what does success actually mean for you?

There is no right or wrong answer, and it doesn't have to be what your parents, friends, or the world tells you it is.

Success can take on many different forms. Some versions of success look like:

  • Going away to college and getting my 4-year degree
  • Living at home while learning a trade
  • Having a full-time job with benefits so I never have to worry about a paycheck or going to the doctor
  • Creating my own business so I decide what I do, how much I make, and when I work
  • Having a lot of money in my savings
  • Investing my money in experiences that help me grow instead of in the market

What's your version of success? Are you living a life of success right now? Find out by asking yourself the questions below.

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1. What do you think success is supposed to look like?

Think about what you've been taught or conditioned to think success is - is this really what you believe?

2. How does this definition make you feel?

Angry? Excited? Confused? Abundant? Limited in possibility?

3. What parts of this definition of success align with you and which parts don't?

What pieces do you love? What pieces make you cringe?!

4. What is a moment when you felt truly successful?

A paper you got a great grade on? Getting the job you wanted? Hitting a running goal? Or how about actively making the decision to eat a healthy snack option?

5. What brings you joy?

When do you feel the most joy with your successes and life in general?

6. What do you need to do every day to feel good?

Exercising? Iced coffee? Listening to music full-blast in your car? Saying no when people ask you to do things? What are the big and small things that make any day amazing?

7. What are the values you practice?

Loyalty? Passion? Commitment? Optimism? Honesty? You'll want to take note of these so they are always at the top of your priority list when working towards goals.

8. What would your big-picture, dream-come-true be?

What's that big, scary dream that you haven't shared with anyone? What would your ideal life look like?

9. What are you willing, and not willing, to sacrifice in order to make your dream a reality?

If you could create a life you love, what would you give up temporarily or permanently? What is something that you couldn't imagine giving up? You get to decide! An example is someone willing to sacrifice a year of travel to save up money to pay off their student loans. Another example is someone not willing to sacrifice their 8-hours of sleep each night to stay up late and work on their business launch.

10. How do you want to be remembered?

100 years from now, what would you want people to know you as?

The above 10 questions will help you get more clarity about what makes you tick. We hope it helps!

Want to learn more or have questions? Check out our other blog posts or reach out. We'd love to help!

About the Author

Gabrielle Ianniello is the founder of The Adulting Manual and the host of the Corporate Quitter Podcast. When she's not adulting, she enjoys reading, making art, hiking, and Mario Kart.