how to define success for yourself


What Does Success Mean to You?

We live in a society that thrives on the race to the top. It seems as if everything is a competition, and if you are not in first place, then you are doing something wrong. I am here to disagree with that sentiment. The companies, people, or whomever you see in "first place" did not get there simply by luck. These people did not wake up one morning being number one. No, they had to work at it. You are not entitled to success, but you can define success for yourself. I think it is important for each and every person to develop his or her own definition of success, whether it is for your personal outlook on life or for your up and coming business. Defining success for yourself will help you narrow your focus. I want to use this post to discuss a few ways that have proved healthy for me as I began defining success for myself as well as my business.

Setting Goals

In the realm of business, you should always be moving toward a goal. Setting goals can also help keep you organized. If I have learned anything, it is that sometimes life happens, and you get caught up in the day-to- day activities, making it easy to let your business/hobby fall to the background. I have found it helpful to set daily, weekly, monthly, and annual goals for my company as well as personal goals. A goal for your business could be as simple as releasing one new product a month or boosting your social media presence by making a Facebook page for your company. A goal for yourself could be choosing an area of your life that you want to grow in and then assigning yourself a task that will help you reach that goal.

For example, I have decided that I want to expand my reading realm and read some of the classic novels I have always heard about. I have decided that in my free time, rather than just laying around and watch Netflix (which is a relaxing, lazy habit of mine) maybe I will skip an episode and read a chapter of one of the books on my list. I am not making myself sit down and read an entire book in one afternoon, but I am choosing to set aside time to accomplish a goal of mine.

Making room for personal growth -- disconnected from your business growth -- is essential to maintaining your sanity as well.

As you are putting all of your efforts into your business, make sure you take time to refuel your passions.

Your Heart Behind The Operation

Switching back to the business side, it is essential to your business that you have your heart in check. What I mean by keeping your heart "in check" is that you need to constantly be reassessing why you are doing what you are doing. Remind yourself what made you want to start pursuing this venture in the first place. The passion that you had to kick-off your business should be your drive, and it should be apparent in every decision you make. This brings me back to the idea of "racing to the top" because in our competitive society, it is so easy to get dragged into the race to success rather than cultivating the passion you have for your business and using it to grow further.

Finding your avenue to creativity and reflection is a good place to begin! For you, it may be going for a run to clear your head before you start some serious brainstorming, but for me, my avenue is not running. My avenue is simply getting in my car on a pretty day, rolling the windows down, and driving around old country back roads. This routine has a way of allowing me to take a deep breath and refocus when moving forward into whatever is next on my to-do list. That original burst of inspiration I mentioned earlier came from you being your own catalyst - don’t sit around waiting for something to inspire you - go out, refresh your beautiful mind, and get to work!

Dangers of Constant Comparison

If you truly have a passion for your company, then it should be easy to only focus on your company. Social media and the Internet, as a whole, have created a place where we can instantly keep up to date with others, thus providing an arena for constant comparison at our fingertips. It is easy to look around and compare your progress to others. Don't.

Constant comparison will only discourage you and mess with your focus.

There is not a cookie cutter path to success. Each individual and company is unique and is going to encounter different bumps in the road. It may take one company six months to take off, and it may take another 6 years. Regardless of which category you fit into, your time will come if you are giving it all that you have.

Defining Success For Yourself

But... HOW do I avoid comparing myself or my company to others?? Well... it all starts with defining success for YOURSELF. Most of us start a company, hobby, career, or personal journey because we believe in our cause, and we believe that others will too.

For us entrepreneurs, remember how you felt when you sold your first item? That feeling of satisfaction that someone else saw the potential and worth in your product? That feeling is what it is all about. To define success for yourself you have to think about why you are doing what you are doing, whom you are doing it for, and ultimately the difference and/or impact you hope to make through your endeavor. Determining how to define success for yourself starts with setting goals, accepting that there are others in your field that will progress at different paces than you (and yes that is okay), and believing enough in your company and yourself that there is no need for comparison.

I hope that this article provides you with some encouragement as you look towards the bright future and the extraordinary successes you are striving towards.

Be your own catalyst, work hard, and enjoy the ride.


Jamie Tuggle is a college student entrepreneur whose inspiration for business started with an affinity for Southern culture, a comfy tee, and her hometown. Currently a third year at the University of Georgia, Jamie focuses on growth in all areas of her life, growing her academics, friendships, faith, and business, Homegrown Southern Apparel. Although she is from Carrollton, GA, while at UGA she is making Athens, GA her home away from home. She believes in the power of writing to encourage others and its ability to teach you something about yourself; that’s why seeking to work with other female entrepreneurs and cultivate a community around entrepreneurship brought her to writing for Belong Magazine.

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