How do you define success so that you can sustainably work towards it? In this episode, I want to share what helped me create and reconnect to my own definition of my success.

If there was a bingo card for Be School, there’d definitely be a success square. How many times have I talked about the importance of creating your own definition of success? 

And yet, I’m still learning that lesson. 

I gave up a lot of financial stability when I quit my full-time job. Without realizing it, I started equating my success to my income. That’s always a recipe for disaster, and even more so for me. 

I hit some huge financial milestones this year, but the nature of my work is cyclical. Client projects begin and end. Course launches and facilitator training comes and goes. 

Building my definition of success around income meant that everything had to go up and to the right in order for me to be “winning”. That’s not sustainable. 

I’d hit a milestone. Then I’d inch the goal post further. I’d compare myself to others and move the goal post even further away. 

I didn’t feel successful. I didn’t feel like it would ever be enough. 

It had been too long since I’d sat down to connect with my own definition of success. That definition got more and more hazy, so I began to default to the definitions of success that I’d picked up from others.

Here’s what helped me reconnect to my own definition of my success:

Sit with yourself

I took some time to think about when I felt like I was at my best. 

When did I feel alive? Energized? Like I was making an impact?

Then I went a layer deeper and reflected on what sustained me. What keeps me going when the world feels difficult?

Finally, I asked myself, “What actually matters?”

What’s left when I let go of the outside input and external markers of success?

After I’d done that work, my four metrics for personal success crystallized.


My definitions of success

  • Matt and my close circle feel supported and cared for 
  • I have the freedom and autonomy to say yes and no without obligation 
  • The work I do positively impacts at least one person 
  • I have enough to be comfortable and to be generous (There’s always a way to be generous)

Definitions of success in action

It’s great to put your definitions of success in writing, but that’s only the start of the process. 

Put your definitions where you will see them regularly

Make them your phone or computer background. Have them bookmarked in your journal. Put them in your Notes app. 

Return to them when you’re feeling unsuccessful

We all have days when we don’t feel like a success. That’s a sign that external forces are drowning out your inner voice. Take a moment to read your definitions of success. Remind yourself that this is your measure, not likes or follower counts or dollars in your bank account.

Celebrate when you see yourself living into your definition of success

Celebration is another term that would make in on a Be School bingo card. Acknowledge your success. Do a happy dance. Look in the mirror and say something nice to yourself. You’re a success. 

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