What does success look like for you?

Success is a very broad term that means something different for each individual. Not to mention the differences between personal success, business success, life success… But for the purpose of this article, I’ll be focusing on success as it corresponds to our business related objectives.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how anyone else defines success. What matters is how YOU define success. But ultimately, success can be defined as having achieved or accomplished an aim or objective – and this aspect of success has a clear formula that we’ll get into shortly.

For some, success is simply getting the book started or finished. Or getting the store open and the monthly bills covered. For others success is about social proof, fame or massive fortune. Many look at success as way of defining their lives. But there is plenty of information out there for those who are looking for the larger “meaning of life” definition of success. I’m more interested in how we can define success throughout our journey of getting from where we are to where we want to be.

In order to know whether or not you have in fact achieved success for yourself, you have to have a clear understanding of what success means for you. You have to know what your definition is. And in order to know that definition, you have to know what your goals are.

successAs touched on in previous articles:

… knowing where you are, where you want to be, having a blueprint to get there, knowing your obstacles, identifying your resources and support, and being intentional in your actions and forward movement – are all of the elements required to accurately define success for your business objectives.

With so many components it’s easy to see why success looks different for each individual and it’s also easy to see why so many entrepreneurs and authorpreneurs miss the mark of clearly identifying exactly what success looks like for them.

We are all visionaries. And visionaries notoriously abhor the discipline and structure that is required to effectively set goals and define success. But the ones who find a way to make that happen, are the ones we see surpassing even their own wildest dreams of what they are capable of achieving.

[Tweet “Should we rein in creativity in order to define success?”]

So how do we get there? How do we rein in our creativity long enough to effectively set our goals and define what success will look like for us?

Well for starters, we don’t. Never try to rein in creativity, the concept is completely absurd. Instead, embrace your creativity and apply it to these concepts the same way as you would approach any other aspect of your passion.

If you think about it, nailing this information down is the ultimate core of your passion and creativity. It will become everything that drives your passion and ensure that you’re on track for the specifics of what you want to achieve.

So address the elements by utilizing your own special form of creativity. Whether it’s turning it into a written story, a voice recording or creating a video – have fun with it. You’re far more likely to get down to business and embrace it if you enjoy it.

The creative business of defining success

If you recall from previous articles, we start at the end.

  • Define your big picture. Know what your ideal end result looks like.
  • Then identify your business goals versus your personal goals.
  • Then draw a comparison between where you are to where you want to be.
  • Now what are the key milestones between here and there that you need to accomplish?
  • At this point you’ll be able to break down the smaller steps required to reach each milestone.
  • This process will identify what your obstacles might be and enable you to find the resources and support that you’ll need.
  • From here, you set about being intentional in your pursuit of taking each step.

Yes success will look different for everyone. But the process is actually a formula anyone can follow.


Much of the information out there regarding success and how to define it gets very touchy feely. It’s become something akin to answering “what is the meaning of life?” But I feel that this really complicates the matter far more than necessary.

As mentioned above, success can be defined as having achieved or accomplished an aim or objective. So the key is to figure out what your objectives are. You’ll end up having short-term, mid-term, and long-term objectives – these are your smaller steps, to reach your milestones, to reach your big picture.

Defining success doesn’t have to be some aloof, bigger than life, philosophical pondering. Sure it can be if that’s what you want.

But for most of us, we’re not looking for the meaning of life. We’re looking for validation that we’re on the right path. That there’s purpose to what we’re doing.

I understand the popular approach of answering questions by asking questions in order to have us dig deeper and look inside ourselves. But sometimes all we really need is a clear, logical and simple look at things, rather than the depth of an insightful, philosophical review and revelation.

Take me for example, I’m happy with my life. I like who I am, I love what I do, I’m content and I’ve set the wheels in motion for the path that I wish to pursue. But until I started working through the steps above I really didn’t have a clear idea of what success would look like for me in regards to my business environment. I’m also not a “project manager” nor is it a skill that I’ve ever really been taught. So developing my blueprint has been a challenge and it still keeps changing as I progress, tweak and refine things. But when I look at my “life” as a whole I’m content to declare that I’m a success and I don’t need to dig deep or get philosophical to reach that conclusion. What I do need is practical, logical and simple advice on how to be better at project management. That will enable me to more clearly define my milestone successes that I can then celebrate.

There are some situations in life where we just want the damned fish, not to be taught how to catch it. And this goes hand in hand with reducing overwhelm. Because realistically, we can’t possibly learn the why and how behind absolutely everything. Therefore we must be selective and prioritize.

I feel like this is the case for many entrepreneurs and authorpreneurs out there. Yes of course there are individuals who are lacking a great deal of clarity and who are on a mission to figure out their purpose in life, and for those individuals, the deeper, philosophical analysis is likely a great route.

The rest of us just want a map. And that map is pretty basic and straight forward and worth repeating.

Start at the end:

  • Big Picture: Define your big picture. Know what your ideal end result looks like.
  • Business Segment: Identify your goals, business versus personal.
  • Here to There: Draw a comparison between where you are to where you want to be.
  • Milestones: What are the key milestones between here and there that you need to accomplish?
  • Steps: Break down the smaller steps required to reach each milestone.
  • Obstacles & Support: Identify what your obstacles might be and find the resources and support that you’ll need.
  • Be Intentional: Set about being intentional in your pursuit of taking each step.

Every single step you take is an accomplishment and a success. Every milestone you reach is an accomplishment and a success.

[Tweet “Success is a journey, not a destination.”]

But there’s one other aspect that we really should take a look at. That is, what if you miss-step, or don’t reach a milestone? Does that mean you are not a success? Does that mean that you’ve failed?

Absolutely not. At least, not if you learn from it.

When we miss our mark, there’s a reason for it. So long as we take a careful look and identify that reason, and then make adjustments based on that knowledge, then we can even count a miss-step as a success. Because it simply means that a new step surfaced and we were able to identify it (the reason we missed) and accomplish it (by establishing a new objective).

Perception is everything. How you look at the goals, milestones and steps in your life and business will massively influence the way you define success.

So don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be. When you know what you’re working towards, have a blueprint to follow, and you have purpose, your successes will be clearly identified on both a small scale and a large scale.



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About the Author

Tanya Jones (Thibodeau) is the owner and publisher of the Gateway Gazette, a digital media news source. effective marketingTanya has 12 years of experience in publishing and marketing and 25 years of experience in various business sectors. While offering most “do-it-for-you” marketing services is not part of her business model, she has spent a great deal of time over the last 12 years researching and learning about the ins and outs of marketing, solely for the purpose of being able to pass that knowledge on to help clients. This passion has expanded into a new venture called Panoptic Foundations where they teach entrepreneurs & authorpreneurs how to create and maintain a thriving online presence, from scratch, with ease, even if you’re not techie.

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One response to “What does success look like for you?”

  1. […] It’s a beautiful summary and sets us up perfectly for digging deeper on how these concepts can be applied to our previously defined success goals. […]


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