How Do You Define Success?

How do you define success

A few weeks ago, I posted this statement to my Facebook page and got quite a response:

“If you want to be a Naptime CEO, you cannot simply accept the world’s definition of success, you need to create your own definition of success.”

(btw, if you haven’t already liked my page over there, check it out and consider joining us.)

All to often, people who want to start a business are afraid to because they think they might fail. What they forget is failure is based on your definition of success.

Let me illustrate… last November I ran a local 10K and finished DEAD LAST. Yep, you read that right, dead last. They were waiting for me to cross the finish line so they could go hand out the medals to the top finishers.

Sounds like I failed running that race, right? But here’s my point, my goal was not to finish first. Success for me was to drop my pace per minute – and I did! In fact, I knocked that goal out of the park. My goal was to finish the race with a pace of 11 minute and 30 sec per mile and I ended up running a 11:17 minutes per mile. This was nearly a minute per mile faster than my 10K in September! So for me, this race was a huge success.

What we as Naptime CEOs need to do is apply this same thought process to our businesses. We think that if we start a business we have to hit $1 million in revenue in the first two or three years or we failed. Why? Don’t accept the world’s definition for success. Create your own definition of success.

Granted, this is easier said than lived. When I started my consulting firm, my goal was to make $67,000 a year by my second year in business while only working two days a week. (Why that number? It was my salary when I quit my corporate position.)

Guess what? I achieved my goal! In fact, I had more than $75,000 in revenue that year. I should have been happy, right? Well, I was happy, until I heard another entrepreneur talking about how he had hit the $500K mark in his second year and was now on track to hit a million.

Shoot. Now I must be a failure. I haven’t even hit six-figures yet.

Can you see how easy it is to let someone else write your definition of success?

In fact, if you really want to put this to the test, go hang out on Pinterest for half an hour and see how that affects your perception of what you need to do to be a successful wife/mother/business owner! (Seriously, I do like getting ideas from Pinterest, but I limit my time on there for this and productivity reasons.)

So what’s an aspiring Naptime CEO to do?

First, understand what is realistic. Did you know that only 4 percent of businesses actually hit $1 million in a year? That means 96 percent of businesses do NOT have revenues of seven-figures (or more).

Second, decide what is realistic for you. When I had two toddlers at home and I was only working two days a week even six-figures was an unrealistic goal for me. Now that they are in school, my goals are larger, but not to the point that I’m gone all the time. I still need to be able to get them on and off the bus most days. Do I want to hit a million in revenue – sure! but not now. What I would have to do to get there is too great a price.

Finally, understand and remind yourself often what your goals are – not what others think your goals should be. My husband and I often will discuss business opportunities that come up for me. We talk about not just the revenue, but also the cost in terms of travel away from home and the impact it may have to him and our kids.

Remember, success is not defined in just monetary terms, it is also defined in terms of your relationships, how you’re walking out your calling in life, your mental/physical/emotional/spiritual health, and so on.

So, how are you going to define success? Please share with us in the comments section, I would love to hear from you.

7 thoughts on “How Do You Define Success?

    • Thank you Kevin. Comparison is such a double-edged sword, it can challenge us to reach greater heights, but can also result in never being content with ourselves. Definitely a battle I wage frequently.

  1. You nailed it, Megan! All to often we let another’s success or their definition of success for us define who we are and how we feel about ourselves. It messes with everything. Define your own success and then pursue it with gusto!

  2. Great perspective, Megan! I love that your definition of success is aligned with your family values and character. Kids don’t care about revenue. They care about kisses and cuddling and quality time with mom and dad.

    • You’re so right Jody, and we only have them for such a short time. My mom had a cross-stitch piece when I was growing up that read “There is no higher calling in life than raising the children God has entrusted to our care.” That has really influenced me.

  3. Wonderful post Megan. It’s too easy to allow ourselves to be defined by what someone else does or is doing! I agree – we have to have our own specific, personal definition of success and not worry about what someone else is or isn’t doing. Congratulations on your 10K by the way – I think that’s awesome!

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