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The entire Navigate the Chaos collection of all 365 blog posts is now available in a paperback entitled Navigate the Chaos (795 pages for $24.99). A smaller collection of thoughts from the Navigate the Chaos collection is available in paperback entitled Wonder (94 pages for $4.99)

How often do you define, and then redefine, your definition of success?

Today is September 25 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often do you define, and then redefine, your definition of success?”

People who navigate the chaos understand the need to continuously work on their definition of success. Life is far from static, and therefore, our needs, situations, and circumstances change thus challenging one to rethink their very definition of success. BC Forbes is one such person. As Forbes noted “Success is finding, or making, that position which enables you to contribute to the world the very greatest services of which you are capable.”

In December 2014 Laura Garnett published the article "How Do You Define Success?" in Inc. and received such a positive response she revisited the topic four years later in December 2018 in her article "Here's Why Creating Your Own Definition of Success Is Critical.” The response to her article surprised Garnett and ranks as one of the top five posts she has ever published. The popularity of article on the definition of success demonstrated to Garnett that “we are interested in how people genuinely define success, not just what the media tells us it is.”

Garnett challenged her readers to create their own definition of success. She put forth such a request because she understands so few people develop their own definition of success. Garnett noted that “too many people unconsciously buy into the definition of success that society tells us, which is frequently associated with power, money and material items. But success is a very personal thing. What drives one person can vary drastically from another.” The following four definitions of success as highlighted in Garnett’s 2018 article illustrate the differences across mindsets.

  • "Success is being excited to go to work every day and being equally excited to come home every night." Christina Hall CHRO Linkedin

  • "Success is defined by what makes you feel successful whether that's making more money or having a good relationship with your partner or a promotion you get. You need to define success for yourself and expect it to change along the way." Jaclyn Johnson, CEO & Founder, Create & Cultivate and author of WorkParty

  • "It would be easy to define success if what mattered are the things we can count or quantify like, how high we've climbed the corporate ladder or how much money we've made. But for me, it's the silent victories that stand above all that: the colleagues we've inspired, the lives we've touched, what we've given back to our world. The real measure of success is not what we have, but what we've shared." Amy Cappellanti-Wolf, SVP & CHRO at Symantec.

  • "I define success as creating an impact on the world, on the community, on my team, and on my loved ones. Success to me is about creating greater good, all the while remaining a loving daughter, partner, friend, team leader, and team player. That's why I believe integration is so important for an entrepreneur -- integrating your life and your career so that they become one and the same, collaborating with friends and turning to loved ones for support so that they become part of your every day as you work. That is true success." Tiffany Pham, Founder & CEO of Mogul

One exercise used throughout this Navigate the Chaos series is to create an acronym of a specific word. In this case, create one using the word SUCCESS. Here is one example, success is...

  • Something I have decided freely

  • Unique to my life situation

  • Cultivating my vision

  • Caring for my future self

  • Exciting to pursue

  • Searching for a new adventure

  • Solidifying my purpose

Each definition of success defined above allows you an opportunity to reflect upon just how different people view their path. How people navigate the chaos, the dreams they pursue, and their definition of success are deeply personal.

  • What have you done lately to help yourself understand how your own definition of success?

  • Are you traveling down a path because someone else told you that would like to success?

  • Have you allowed someone else to define success for you? If so, why is that?

  • Do you understand it is never too late to claim your own definition of success?


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