Success Is What You Define It To Be For Yourself


Most individuals want to be successful. But what does that success look like? There’s no single answer to this question. Success is what you define it to be for yourself. There are, however, some common denominators that I think all can agree upon. Success is comfort and security, positive relationships and meaningful activity that occupies enough of your time to make you feel happy and accomplished.

The details are yours, as is the decision to maybe swap one denominator out for another. For example, abandoning comfort and security for an adventure, or choosing to commit a certain period of your life to education that can cut down on your job search so you can achieve your career goal in the future.

For most individuals, it’s often difficult to define career success. There are many factors to be considered and several questions to be answered. For example:

  • What would keep you motivated to work? Those things that motivate people to achieve are unique for everyone. Some might say it’s money, some might say it’s making a difference in the lives of people, and others might say it’s obtaining a certain job status. But regardless of what motivates you, happiness is one of the greatest motivations to achieve. Take time to enjoy the journey. 
  • How important is money to you? When you imagine success, do you picture lavish things — a big house, an expensive car, a million dollars in the bank? If so, it’s important to keep these things in mind when choosing a career pathway. Not all professions pay the same salary, require the same amount of education, or skill sets. Be sure you are aware of what is required to have the lifestyle you want for you.  
  • Would you be willing to make sacrifices now for rewards you could receive later? If you feel driven to become a chef, are you prepared to put in the work to perfect your culinary artistic ability? Maybe take on a somewhat less prestigious job, such as a waiter or waitress, to support your vocation? What can you do now to prepare for your success later?

    When thinking about success, there is always a combination of strategy and passion. Where do you feel most led to go? Does your passion fit with the job market?

    Depending on what you’ve defined your success to be, there are always steps you can take now to begin your career journey. It may seem a little overwhelming and stressful at first, but it will later feel liberating because you have decided to take charge of your destiny and have made some accomplishments along your way that has increased your confidence. Remaining persistent in your pursuits will not only lead to your professional success, but the personal discover of hidden values within yourself. Planning for success is essential to achieving it.

    Mary Parker is the Career Center coordinator at Central Carolina Community College and a global certified Career Development Facilitator. Send comments or column ideas to her at

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