How Do You Measure Success?

Let me start by sharing a TED Talk video that I stumbled upon the other day that left a deep impression:

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, allow me to share some insights on success that I have learned over the past five years while travelling the long and very bumpy road to the present.

  1. Success is not measured by your bank account. Granted, it doesn’t hurt to have a healthy bank account that allows to wine and dine at leisure without worrying how the event is going to impact your next billing cycle, or whether going out for lunch with a friend will mean three days of bread and butter with weakened coffee. Rather, success is measured by whether you can sleep at night with a clear conscience, knowing that whatever you have or don’t have in the bank is based on respect and quality, and you have done your best to imbibe it with your soul.
  2. Success is not measured by the number of people you command or rule over. It is based on the number who turn to you for advice, keep coming back for more of your company and personality, values and point of view rather than out of obligation or because your title demands it of them. It is all about motivating and inspiring, not making others fear you.
  3. Success is measured by the quality and depth of influence you have on a person. It is not measured by the quantity of followers you have on social media or subscribers to a website. It is measured by the loyalty and honesty of those who read / appreciate / take your work to heart, regardless of whether you agree 100% or not. Some the most successful moments in my writing journey have consisted on making a person question the status quo or take a good look at a set of personal values they have held on to for so long. Success is measured by the level of comfort you offer those who surround you, allowing a priceless degree of honesty.
  4. Success is measured by what you have achieved on your own. Achievement and success have long been measured by financial power or political empowerment, but true success allows your work to shine through without all the trappings. It allows you to step back and smile, knowing that it might have cost you endless nights of sleeplessness, pain, sorrow, frustration, but you are able to look at that image, hold that book, wave that new identity and say hell yes, I did this all on my own! Celebrate the inner rebel.
  5. Success is not measured by how many you ruined along the way. It is measured and rewarded by the number of people you invited to join you for the journey and remained with you come hell or high water. You didn’t abuse your influence, didn’t behave like a manipulative narcissistic bastard, and refrained from humiliating them at every possible opportunity. Karma is a bitch.
  6. Success makes you whole. It doesn’t break you, it heals.

So back to Coach Val – winning is not equivalent to success. Recognition and respect are. More importantly, self-respect is, and that is the measure of a true champion. Winning is not the ultimate goal, it is a thrilling bonus of success. The old cliche is true – success does not happen overnight.

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