Personal Development

What Does Success Look Like to You?

We are now past the midpoint of the first quarter of 2018, and it is likely that many people still feel strongly about their success initiatives. Many are hoping, wishing, and praying 2018 will be the year they crush it. Although the ambitions that drive one person might be radically different from another, each person has his or her own version of success he or she would like to achieve. We all desire to win. Each of us has the urge to reach our full potential.

So rather than asking “What does success look like to you?” I think we should be asking, How do you define the success that is the right fit for you? Arriving at a firm conclusion is especially difficult for those who have many interests. For example, I was a bassist for many years and have played for and with a number of gospel and pop artists including VaShawn Mitchell, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Jonathan Nelson, Anita Wilson, Michelle Prather, Kenn Orr, Kelvin Wooten and others.

Looking back at my experience as a bassist, I cannot say I loved playing the bass. I liked playing the bass a lot, and it was fun being on stage with accomplished musicians. Despite the fun, the concerts, the travel, and other perquisites, I just never got the feeling that being a bassist was the right fit as it relates to my vision of success, which was why I decided to hang up the ax for good in 2014.

quotes-about-never-give-up-and-stay-strong12For the last decade or so, I have been a university professor, and I must say I love teaching. The most fulfilling aspect of sharing sacred space with eager learners is learning from them. While my academic training has equipped me with the tools to influence and mold the future of individual students, every semester, students offer me more invaluable life lessons than any knowledge I could ever impart to them. Nonetheless, as impactful as my experience as a professor has been, I could envision my last day in the classroom, and perhaps without any feeling of permanent loss.

After a period careful and honest self-assessment, I realized what I valued more than anything else was the freedom of time—living life on my own terms. The freedom of time is about creating a lifestyle that unlocks the freedom to pursue my heart’s desires and living truthfully as my soul intended. The tangible expression of this freedom is entrepreneurship—new ways of imagining, thinking, and being—creating value and opening up a world of choices and opportunities. 

How do you define the success that is the right fit for you? That’s the key, isn’t it, identifying the right fit? Based on my experience, and studying the lives of highly successful people, the right fit can be narrowed down to these criteria: (1) Which of the following could you not live without, comfort, access, or security? (2) What’s your one burning obsession (the domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, or desire)?

While the above two points were not meant to be exhaustive, they could help you begin thinking more clearly about your goals and aspirations. The better you become at defining the success that is the right fit for you, the more likely you will be able to transmute your desire, creative energy, and effort into their physical and monetary equivalents.

Start doing what you love and leave your mark on this world.

You deserve to experience life’s best.

Be legendary.



14 thoughts on “What Does Success Look Like to You?

  1. Isn’t if fulfilling thought that you did what you enjoyed for quite a while, even if only on a temporary basis. You at least accomplished some of your initial pleasures. What people need to realize is those pleasures will eventually change-because you become more creative as you enjoy life.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m beyond grateful for the experience of having tried and excelled at passions closest to my heart. As you aptly posited, change is an inevitable feature of life. Remaining open to the endless possibilities makes life worth living.


      1. While I loved the post, I’m actually going to respond to this comment. I believe change is a huge part of success! Any time you’re standing still, things are not moving forward. It is indeed inevitable and at times tough to work with, but in the end it’s the thing that will choose whether we move forward or remain where we are at.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. When I was younger I used to work like a fiend with the goal of moving up up up the corporate ladder, gaining prestige, and being a champion of some sort. Unfortunately, my mental illness made some of those goals quite difficult. Success has a completely different meaning to me now. Success is simply continuing to try to move forward, but without hurting myself or others, being happy with the “now”, finding simple pleasures, and REALLY appreciating bigger pleasures when they come.

    I’ll admit that extreme challenges (especially ones that really make you struggle or even knock you down a few pegs or more) can be among the best learning experiences. They may not seem so at first, but with careful consideration, they usually are.

    Liked by 3 people

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