Once a friend interviewed me for a school project. His assignment was to talk with someone who was self-employed. My answers to his questions were supposed to help him understand the world of an entrepreneur. An unintended consequence was that in considering my responses to him, I gained new insights about myself.
At the end of the interview, he asked me what I’ve learned from being out on my own. I wanted to provide him with something important and meaningful, perhaps even profound. At first, all I could come up with was nuts and bolts things that most people quickly figure out after going into business for themselves. And then an idea began taking shape in the back of my mind. It grew clearer and clearer until finally I could share it with him.
I told him I learned to create my own definition of success. For me this had been difficult to do because I had focused on traditional success stories that I read of in business publications. The definitions were pretty consistent. The successful business person…
- Works hard and long.
- Grows the business aggressively.
- Makes sacrifices and does “whatever it takes.”
- Has single-minded determination.
The problem with this list was that it didn’t fit my values. This left me with two choices: Accept failure or create my own definition. I chose the latter. It’s a work in progress, but I believe my success is defined something like this…
- Add value.
- Enjoy what I do.
- Keep learning and growing.
- Stay healthy.
- Be a positive influence on those around me.
While this list will likely continue to change, one thing will not. Whatever I put on it will be my idea of success and not someone else’s.