I can tell you what is not: success is not a standard. It is also not one of those words you rarely hear in the hallways. Everyone repeats it. Why is this word pronounced so much, so lightly? I am still working my own definition, as should you. Any standard you set for yourself is too high, too low or just right…depending on what you want it to be, so why tie yourself to a definition that’s not clear even in the Corporate world?
In the past 12 years I asked this question to many people, some of them colleagues. Some were really Senior to me, some where not. Others didn’t care, most of them actually (also surprising in Corporations, only a few care about what success might really mean, yet most of them want it) and because they didn’t, they never stopped to think: what does it mean?
Out of all the answers I got and I remember these 5 are the ones that made a bigger impact on me, the ones that stuck in my head. Pick your favorite.
The Sales VP
“Success is what you have to seek every single day in everything you do when you work for a big Company like this one. And you need to be obvious about it, and loud though not loud enough to annoy people. Success is more about the actual search than the result: it’s about being alert to all possible avenues you can take to advance your career. Success is what your colleagues and bosses need to think you want.”
“What is success? I don’t know about that. What I can tell you though is that after 15 years here I´ve heard a lot of people asking themselves that question, and guess what? Not one of them is here anymore. They all come in with the same smile in their face. Some leave with a frown, some still smile. I guess success for them was not here.
Hawaii. A nice car. That’s how success looks to me. Top of the top, leader of the pack. Alpha dog. Getting the numbers and the pat on the back is not being successful. If you want to know what success is, go check the Sales Leaderboard. See the first place is empty? My name will be there by the end of this year. That’s success.
The Empathic co-worker
Success is whatever you want it to be. You can achieve it by just realising you already are successful. It is a state of your mind. It is also just a Word. If it becomes important to you, then you will make it happen. Success is nothing but a representation of your happy self.
The honest one
Success? It is what everyone ones but only a few get. Do you know why? Because success is given by others to you. It’s a trap. You can’t achieve it if there’s no one to acknowledge it. It is given to you, as a title, as an award. The tricky part is that to get there…you need to acknowledge other people’s success first.
Also published on Medium.