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How Do You Define Success?

By Stephanie Marston

To a great extent the way we act and what we invest our time and energy in is based on how we feel we can achieve success. But what is success? Please spend a few minutes and consider how you define success. Without too much thinking write down your answers to the following questions:

How do you define success?

What are some of the accomplishments you have had in your life?


Now compare your definition of success with your list of accomplishments and ask yourself:

To what extent do my answers describe success in my career?

To what extent do my answers describe success in my personal life and family relationships?

To what extent do my answers describe success in my Self?


If you're like most people you probably defined success in terms of your achievements in your career. When we think about success we tend to focus on how we are viewed as an employee, boss or coworker rather than on as a spouse/partner, father/mother, friend or sibling.

In order to create greater work-life balance we have to shift our thinking and rebalance our definition of success to include our personal and family relationships.

Now spend a few minutes and answer the following questions:

I am happiest when...

I want to be a person who...

At the end of my life I want people to describe me as...


Now compare these answers to the previous answers about success. Notice how your answers to these questions have redefined success in terms of your personal relationships and a deeper sense of meaning.

We need to redefine success. Not to exclude career success, but to include success in our relationships, with family members and our personal life. Success with our family and personal relationships needs to become a new way of evaluating how we see our accomplishments and ourselves and to be fully integrated with our success at work.

Stephanie Marston is an internationally published author and life-balance expert.
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