How do you define success? The Oxford English Dictionary describes success as ‘the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, the good or bad outcome of an undertaking’.
Traditionally, success in the business world has been defined as reaching (sales or financial) targets, completing a project with a specific aim or facilitating a team in a particular activity. Success is a clearly defined target and it usually has a deadline. Once reached, successes are celebrated and broadcast for all to hear about.
It’s interesting that the definition of success has evolved to include ‘the good or bad outcome of an undertaking’. What does this mean? Society is becoming increasingly aware of individuals and encourages a tolerant society. It would be an ideal world if we all got along with one another and accepted each other unconditionally. However, the reality is somewhat different. To achieve an aim or purpose seems straightforward enough – chose something and go for it! Add to this the good or bad outcome of an undertaking and we’re immediately shrouded in doubt, and potentially fear. What if I don’t accomplish the aim? What if the outcome is not what is expected? What if others think I did it wrong? And we continue to strive, to set ourselves new goals, to aim higher, to work harder. Do we ever succeed? We live in an increasingly pressurised environment that expects us to achieve, achieve and achieve again. It can be an exhausting and demoralising way to live.
I’ve learnt that success is individual. An achievement for one person is standard practice for another. What is ‘normal’ for some is stretch for others. We are all different and consequentially our measures of success are different too. Despite this diversity we all share the same feelings of joy when a goal is reached. Society enjoys hearing stories of success, team spirit is strengthened as we congratulate others and we are encouraged by positive outcomes. Celebrating success isn’t time consuming, it takes away some of the stress and potential monotony of every day and you never know, it could take us a step closer to the unified community that society strives for. There will always be times when success needs to be clearly defined, specific and within a timeframe, in business this is inevitable. However, it’s up to us how we perceive and react to the situation.
Challenge yourself to pro-actively look for success throughout your day. Be proud of your achievements and of the achievements of those around you. Taking time to acknowledge smaller successes on the way to a bigger goal is a worthwhile exercise. You’ll be amazed – 3 cheers for success!