What is ‘Success’?


Today I wanted to discuss the concept of ‘success’.

When reflecting on my previous understanding of it, I believed society had taught me it was a high paying job, big house, nice car, lavish luxurious lifestyle.

This is what I wholeheartedly believed to be the only answer.

The idea of ‘success’ caused me a lot of personal pain. As my friends went off to their high-flying jobs and discussed their top end salaries, I sat and reflected on my personal ‘failures’ for not achieving this. I went through a hell of a battle mentally for several years, with quite a lot of it stemming from this idea I was a ‘failure’ which I kept repeating to myself.

This is not a plea for sympathy as I was fully responsible for the way I was feeling, by choosing to believe the story I was telling myself, this is an article in itself, but thankfully this story is no longer told.

If I briefly reflected through some of my career history, I worked in a bar, to managerial level. The job was ok, but I was often asked off friends and family, when am I going to get a ‘real’ job? (I fucking hated this!)

I was even once confronted by an old schoolteacher at a wedding reception, who made a mockery of my seemingly failed potential. However, not one of them (Friends, family, teacher) ever asked if I was happy? Not one.

I was also at University at the time and after five years studying, I graduated with my MSc in Sports Science, surely this was a success?

Well it was labelled as a  ‘Micky Mouse’ Degree by a lot of people, and personally, had I known what I wanted at that stage in my life I would of chosen different, but I still achieved this, so looking back it is ok to deem this a success.

I then got my first job in recruitment. Finally, I had landed a ‘real’ job, I thought I was finally matching the expectations of others and could start labelling myself as ‘successful’ to society. I did better for a wage than I had ever done, and in my second company I even had a company car.  Mr. success over here.

I worked for two good companies in fairness, but was I genuinely happy with this as my whole future career; absolutely not!

Anyway, I am going to refrain from describing every single job I have ever had. However, in my current endeavors I am HAPPY! For the last few years with the NHS and now on my personal ventures I am HAPPY.

I love talking personal development more than anything else!

Now that to me is exactly what SUCCESS is! Do I want to earn a higher income, absolutely, which is why I set out on my own business venture, but I want to be HAPPY in the process.  

In my Podcast (JoeBloggstalks – You should check it out) one of the questions I ask my guests is ‘what does success mean to you’ and I quite naively expected all the answers to be around money and luxury living. One of my guests is a highly successful property entrepreneur, so I thought this was destined to be the answer. However, it came to my surprise that everyone I have interviewed so far mentioned happiness first.

With that said then, perhaps we should be asking the question ‘are you happy’ more often?

To finish, I am not one to lecture on how ‘money doesn’t make you happy‘ because to a lot of people it definitely does and this is completely fine, but money is definitely not ‘success’ because being genuinely happy is more important.

Tony Robbins described success without fulfillment as ‘the ultimate failure‘ and I genuinely understand that concept now.

Perhaps I have been blinkered by a dated concept of ‘success’ and what I believed society was telling me was always wrong.

However, success to me is simply doing something that you genuinely enjoy. If I could have told myself that some ten years ago, I would have saved myself a whole world of grief.

ALWAYS choose happiness first. If your happy in what you do… you are already ‘successful‘.


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