What’s Your Definition of Success?

core values

In our success-stressed and driven world, there’s hot debate on what is success and what does it looks like. In my conversations I get a variety of answers, but most have a common theme that involves material status, possessions, wealth, or some form of recognized achievement. So, what’s your definition of success?

I’ve come to realize that I don’t share the same world view of success as most people. Although status, wealth, and fame can certainly be part of an equation for personal success, I believe they may be part of the reward but not the definition. I cross paths with many people living successful lives without those tangible results.

Each of us has an identity created by our faith, talents, strengths, and purpose. Some people take longer than others to figure out those areas of life and usually learn from mistakes made along the way. Pain can certainly become a platform for success. I believe people achieve life success when they remain true to themselves and continually live out their top five core values.

Your core values are the center of your being and define who you are and what you stand for. When you aren’t able to live out your core values, you may become frustrated, angry, depressed, and disillusioned, even if you have wealth, fame, or status. How many times have you heard someone who appears to have everything say:

  • Is this it? How come I don’t feel happy?
  • I thought I would feel happier.
  • That’s it? I still feel like something is still missing in my life.

When people are able to structure their lives around their core values, they tend to flourish and feel fulfilled.

My top five core values are leadership, authenticity, service, love, and obedience, which explains much of what and why I feel as I do. Although I love to lead, I don’t have to and can easily follow. However, I recently experienced how conflict with my leadership value created an overwhelming degree of frustration that most people wouldn’t have felt. Because of my gifts of administration, I gladly organize most mission trips. However, when I agreed to join another team, I became incredibly frustrated with its poor leadership throughout the entire process. I realized that if I wasn’t allowed to lead, I had to ensure that my core value of leadership was honored by only joining a team that was led well.

I propose that success has nothing to do with what you have but instead living a life that allows you to express your core values on a daily basis. Living out these values doesn’t necessarily mean you will have money or fame. My daughter is an animal advocate, dog foster, vet technician, and runs a non-profit dog rescue. I don’t know what her future holds, but I don’t imagine she will assess huge wealth. I consider her successful, because she’s living out her passion and core values. So, I ask again, how do you define personal success?


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com