One of the first questions we ask successful people is this: “How did you become so successful?”
The problem with this question is that everyone’s definition of success is different. Some believe success is relative to money; some believe success is relative to fame; some believe success is relative to the number of people who have heard their message, read their book, or seen their movie. Some may simply define success as the moment they accomplish what they’ve set out to accomplish.
The dictionary definition of success is “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” By definition, to be successful, you have to accomplish your aim. You have to fulfill your purpose.
But in order to accomplish and fulfill, you must first define. Ask yourself: What is your aim? What is your purpose?
New York Times Bestselling Author John Maxwell sees success as a multi-level journey. He uses the example of a recent college graduate celebrating her success and accomplishments with her family. But Maxwell proposes that the college graduate was successful even before her success was recognized. (Hollis, 2019).
“She became a success the day she decided to go to college; she became a success the day she decided to go to class; she became a success the day she decided to study for the test.” (Hollis, 2019). But how many times do you think that college graduate felt like giving up? How many times did she choose to keep going?
What do you do when you don’t think you’re going to reach a goal? When the numbers aren’t right, when the details aren’t coming together? Do you default to a mindset of growth, or a mindset of failure?
As a college student myself, so close to receiving my diploma, I’ve have had times when I felt like throwing in the towel. I felt like that paper would be impossible to write, I would never fully grasp the concept being taught, I wouldn’t pass the test. I asked myself, “What if I don’t succeed?”
If you can relate, ask yourself: What if you DO?
What if you decide to write the paper? What if you decide to show up to class? What if you decide to work in your strengths and develop your talents? What if you decide to do what it takes to be able to walk across that stage and receive your diploma?
What if you decide to try?
A saying I’ve heard since childhood goes like this: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Sherry Taylor, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Mason Deerfield Chamber, mentions in the first episode of the fadedRED Podcast, led by Timbelo’s President, Founder, and CEO, Barbara Hogan, that the word “fail” is an acronym for “First Attempt in Learning.” (fadedRED, 2019). When you choose to learn, you get one level closer to the goal… and when you actively and intentionally choose to pursue the goal, that is your first attempt in success.
Subscribe to the fadedRED Podcast here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/fadedred/id1450472298?mt=2&i=1000428350364
fadedRED. (2019, January 23). Episode 1: A Woman Others Follow. Podcast retrieved from
Hollis, R., & Maxwell, J. (2019, February 5). What success really means with John Maxwell.
Podcast retrieved from https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/rise-