Rise of the Innerpreneur

How Do You Define the Achievement of Success?

A few months back I was helping to design the header graphic for a new blog that was being launched. The blog’s content focused on how to achieve ‘success’ in business. And while trying to design a logo that communicated ‘success’, I realized that I had no idea what the heck ‘success’ meant.

I mean, I knew what it meant to me personally but I doubted that the client viewed ‘success’ in the same light that I did. I realized that the term ‘success’ means absolutely nothing unless you look at its owner.

Success According to the Dictionary

By definition success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. So unless you know what purpose was trying to be achieved, you can’t possibly know if something is successful.

Take Twitter for example, the company has millions of users and most of us would argue that the application is a ‘success’. But if the purpose of Twitter was to generate money, the endeavour is not a ‘success’ as they have not yet figured out how to make it profitable.

Making Money ≠ Success

It seems like more often than not the media uses the term ‘success’ synonymously with money. If you make money you are a ‘success’. I say bollocks to their short-sightedness.

Related Read:  Distracted by the Noise

You are a success if you achieve your purpose, regardless of whether money is involved. That is why it is so important to take the time to know what your purpose is. If you don’t know where you are going (purpose), you’ll never get there (success). Money, of course, will be a part of it because we all need to live, but where does it sit on your lists of motivators? How do you define the achievement of success?

My Success = My Purpose Realized

Success to me is:

  1. Personal growth
  2. Authentic expression
  3. Making a difference and helping others
  4. Ability to travel
  5. Income generation

Hello! I’m Tara, a wizard of less obvious things. I love hearing from you, so please feel free to connect with me.

I deeply appreciate your support of my work—through allowing it to grow in your imagination, through sharing it with others, and through your financial support.

About Tara Joyce

Hello! I'm Tara, a wizard of less obvious things. I love hearing from you, so please feel free to connect with me. I deeply appreciate your support of my work—through allowing it to grow in your imagination, through sharing it with others, and through your financial support.

18 Thoughts on “How Do You Define the Achievement of Success?

  1. Tara,

    Excellent post! I agree that 'living out' your purpose is a true measure of success. I don't know if it has as much to do with the achievement of that purpose as it does with the process of 'becoming'. As always, I appreciate how you prod us to think deeper.


  2. @JoshHurlock on April 3, 2009 at 11:22 PM said:

    Thanks for the post.

    Success is how you define it. My idea of success with regards to each aspect and moment of my life (such as a college class) would be furthering my knowledge and intelligence.

    With respect to life as a whole, my idea of success would be being financially stable for a family and continuing to learn each day.

  3. Beautifully put and an honourable purpose.

  4. HERO on April 4, 2009 at 8:01 AM said:

    Well, that young lady-Tara Joyce is not loosing her time. As in all things,success depends upon previous preparation,and without such a careful
    preparation, the probability of failure is quite high. However instead of worrying about what is going to happen in the future and playing around with
    predictions and forecasting, Tara stresses on preparation, coining up the new concepts that will guaranty a stable house to keep us safe in a bad and stormy weather.
    Even more.She seems to be fully conscious that there is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way! Isn't this remarkable?
    “How Do You Define the Achievement of Success?” is a treasury of insights, most useful empirical prescriptions,etc, without the slightest idea of imitating
    a successful cookbook. A healthy amount of dialectics is also applied with the necessary care it truly deserves.But wait a minute! Unfortunately
    no matter how successfully we handle such delicate and complex issues we can't escape the existing duality of things, leading to consequences that are beyond our abilities to predict.
    I hate to quote as an example- Hitler,who strangely enough in,1936 -possessed all the listed (spelled out) qualities of someone truly successful and how
    did the poor bastard finally end up? In fully justified ruins and disaster!
    I also enjoyed the movie- “Shortcut to Happiness” that has some very fine points to its credit. If you have read Plato, in one dialog “Giorgi”, Giorgi is convincing Socrates in the value of his
    Art of Manipulation and Persuasion. Socrates asks Giorgi one single question: apart from teaching his students the ability to convince other people what is really good for them
    and how they should act in a concrete situation, does he also educate them in the skill, where they can Themselves judge what is good and right?- This question is a killer for all
    manipulators from ancient to recent times. Since all know what something costs at the moment, but none know what is it real value, that will never pass into nothingness! This
    is elegantly generalized by Oscar Wild – “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” On this basis Sir Anthony Hopkins asks the
    Devil(Played by a lady) the killer question- “Now that you claim this man’s soul on the basis that you offered him “Success” as a writer, What could he possibly write without his
    Soul? What at all can he say that is truly significant? And how many from the “Successful”, whose novels and thoughts are on sale, really have something to say?
    The same unfortunately is with arts, that with the development of the internet took a standstill. Everything, everywhere begins to look and sound the same. Oscar Wild in “The Portrait of
    Dorian Gray”, according to the best of my memory, was saying that even a second rated artist could paint a more impressive “Sunset”, than nature. He went even further than that,
    stating that “Art exists to show Nature, where her real place is in eternity.”
    The cited film is a unique product of that contemporary and civilized christian consciousness,which approaches the traditional image of the Devil in a completely modern way.
    All of us have certain gifts and abilities,when born. This constitutes our natural potential, so to speak that is granted by The Creator.
    When a person really wants to succeed and become famous at any prize, he begins to seek artificial ways to compensate what he lacks as qualities given by nature.
    These artificially gained qualities are exactly the ones that gradually undermine and ruin his natural abilities,gifted by nature. The 'Devil' does not use “God's” potential strengths,
    but Only the strengths derived from gaining power over the obedience of the free will of man, as to achieve his artificial and imaginary success at any prize! It is in this way that I
    read this provocative movie!- Nobody can serve simultaneously-two masters: since either one of them he will begin to hate, and start loving the other; he will either get attached to one of them and despise the other. You ca not serve both by definition! -Mathews, The Bible.
    Money as Tara Joyce states, provides only the means, not the list of motivations. The Devil however demands something completely different, following a false purpose of his own.
    Apart from the conventional wisdom handed to us throughout the ages, we have to learn an additional priceless lesson:
    “Work as work the ones that want to succeed. Value your life as the ones who value theirs,and do their best to preserve it. Enjoy life as those that, really value it.- The true artist,
    who works because he really loves his work, is often the righter one compared to the student that imagines that he has overcome his own interest, while in fact has only widened the borders of experience and desire, transferring thus his interest on things, that concern a much wider aspect of life.”

  5. HERO on April 4, 2009 at 1:07 PM said:

    I saw a poster named -“Beauty” on your site and started thinking spontaneously about the Newcomers: The new authors.The different.The slightly arrogant. The real ones.That lack haughtiness,do not pretend,lack dogmatic thinking,are not obstructed; do not follow some outdated rules; tend to think out of the box; lack and try to over through populism. This is already a fact. It is a phenomena.The appearance of new identities. Performance. Vitality.
    Being on your own. Out of the circle.Here. Everywhere.They are approaching.
    We don't need to meet them,since they are here already,long ago.
    We can only wish them a nice time.Their majesty :the newcomers!

  6. HERO on April 4, 2009 at 2:56 PM said:

    Here’s to the crazy ones.
    The misfits.
    The rebels.
    The troublemakers.
    The round pegs in the square holes.
    The ones who see things differently.
    They’re not fond of rules.
    And they have no respect for the status quo.
    You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
    About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
    Because they change things.
    They push the human race forward.
    And while some may see them as the crazy ones,
    We see genius.
    Because the people who are crazy enough to think
    they can change the world,
    Are the ones who do.

  7. What a incredibly well thought out and provoking answer, Mike. I am
    continually learning from you.

  8. A great message of hope for a more purpose-driven creative future.

  9. Who wrote that, Mike? I'd love to republish it. It is a great quote
    that would be a good reminder to me when I feel too isolated by
    dominant culture.

  10. Tim Bursch on April 7, 2009 at 5:02 PM said:

    Good reminder that success is not defined out there. It's though when we have so much info saying what it looks like to be successful (have this, do that, own this, look like that, etc).
    My definition is fluid- Live life to the fullest, share with others, make a difference, invest in people, and be real.

  11. A great answer, Tim. I like how you stated that your definition of
    success is fluid.

  12. gulliver on April 10, 2009 at 11:59 AM said:

    I'll define 'success' as the ability to be me in the face of pressure to be anything but. If I can also make rent, that'll be good too.

    Selling 17 million albums and routinely filling arenas is all so passe.

  13. “the ability to be me in the face of pressure to be anything but” Great answer. And you're right, selling albums is so lame.

  14. Zoe Mcduncan on April 11, 2009 at 11:02 AM said:

    Success varies from person to person. For me success is achieving my goals and being happy at the same time…. If am able to make money too then that's just icing on the cake.

  15. A beautiful, personal definition, Zoe. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Annette on August 14, 2010 at 8:48 PM said:

    I love this! Success is personal and individual. That's why extrinsic motivators don't always work. Everyone defines success by what they value.

  17. Kellypratt on July 6, 2011 at 6:27 PM said:

    I love this… i've been struggling with naming my business for a while and finally settled on CREATIVE SUCCESS BY DESIGN –  but then I was further defining “my people” whe are Cultural Creatives and Innerpreneurs and guess what… “SUCCESS” is NOT a core value!  At least not how we typically define success… your comment “more often than not the media uses the term ’success’ synonymously with money.” is spot on!   So how do we define success? 
    so, once again, i changed my mind about my business name  and am contemplating what is success?? thanks for this post… you have me thinking again!

  18. hehe, my pleasure to get you thinking, Kelly. I wish the best with

    naming your business. It's a hard and fun thing to do. But it'll come

    to you. Have patience and keep asking those questions:>)

    … tj

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How Do You Define the Achievement of Success?

By Tara Joyce Time to Read: 1 min