What Does Success Mean to You?

Is the difference between success and failure that clear? (source)

Success is a perpetually debated and discussed topic. It drives us both as a group and as an individual, steering our corporate, personal and social lives.

Some feel that success can only be metered by quantitative indicators. These measures tend to be financial, cumulative, self-oriented and tangible in nature.

In the corporate world, these could include having a leading market share, strong share/stock prices, sterling profits, high industry rankings, and positive overall corporate result. On the personal front, it may include one's personal wealth, influence and rank in one's organisation, educational qualifications and results, or prizes and accolades accummulated.

Others may feel that success is an outcome of one's impact on others. While still measurable through surveys and popularity contests, such indicators tend to stakeholder-focused and other-centred.

For organisations, it may include its popularity on opinion surveys, number of "tweets" highlighting its brand names, performance in customer satisfaction/opinion studies, or employee engagement scores. Individuals that succeed in this "arena" would be those with lots of friends/fans/followers, are constantly bombarded with messages, and enjoy an endless flow of invitations to all kinds of cool parties and events.

Yet another school of thought looks at success in a more philosophical manner. Success is less about profits or popularity, but more about reaching a positive state of sustainable contentment.

It is no longer about chasing the numbers, but getting off the ladder and taking a different unconventional path.

In companies, this may mean supporting community pursuits that result in the betterment of humanity, leaving behind a zero carbon footprint legacy, sponsoring the arts, or having an entire football team named after your brand.

The personal equivalent would be taking an indefinite hiatus from work and travelling around the world, switching from full-time to free-time, starting a band at 40 just "for the heck of it", or giving away every penny to a cause.

What is your idea of success and how would you determine if you've arrived?

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