What is Success?


Be honest, when you think of the word success, what springs to mind? In today's world, I think a large percentage of the responses would be linked to money. However, success is much more than that. The Oxford Dictionary definition includes '1. the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. 2. The attainment of fame, wealth or social status. 3. The good or bad outcome of an undertaking." What would your definition be?

Whilst spending the day training, and knowing the theme of today's blog, my thoughts often drifted to what I considered to be success and how success comes about. There are several aspects necessary for success; clarity, preparation, context and expectations.


By clearly defining your outcome or goal, it will be more achievable. Don't start anything without first knowing what your aim is. there must be a high degree of clarity or what the end result is. What is the actual outcome by which you are measuring success or by which you are satisfied success has been attained?

What are the criteria by which you are judging the success? If you are not clear, then how will you know you have achieved the outcome you have been striving for? A lack of clarity also leads to confusion. Confusion leads to overwhelm and inaction.


The Chinese Philosopher, Confucius says

 "In all things, success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure."

There is something in this I feel because there must be some preparation and planning before you implement a set of actions and behaviours.

Success is like taking a car journey. If you want to get to somewhere you have never been before, there is no point in just getting in the car and driving around aimlessly. You need to have some idea of where you want to so, otherwise how will you know you are going in the right direction or what is to stop you from driving around in circles, ending up back where you started or getting lost?

If you wanted to get from A to B, you'd set the details into your sat nav or look on Google Maps first to get a route. You'd make sure the car was capable of such a journey and had enough petrol in it to get you there. Maybe you'd want to check out where you'd stop off for a bite to eat; and this is even before you set off driving. Would all this preparation be a waste, or it is necessary in order to arrive where you need to be? And, if something then happened along the way, your previous skills and experiences would help you to navigate the challenge or respond accordingly.


What you consider success in one context might not be in another at the same moment in time. Success, therefore, needs to be defined clearly for each context.

Recognise that success is achieved in, and at, various stages. In some instances, there is a definite end point, but for others, it is a process, a series of micro successes that are constantly evolving. Success can be more fluid and maybe then it is more about the journey, and the feeling this generates, rather than the destination. This comes back to what your definition of success is. Is it a finite point where you declare, "I am a success” or is process where success is not measured by a grand end point but is a series of achievements along the way?


When it comes to determining our success, in whatever context, it is worth taking into consideration your expectations. Be realistic about what can be achieved in the timescale you have. For example, I could not get Mason to walk in a perfect heel position with a 10-minute training session, it would be totally unrealistic. Just like if you build a house, you'd have to dig out and put in the foundations. Then the completion of the house comes together brick by brick. Success is a culmination of multiple actions rather than an immediate gain.

Today, it is easy to readily associate success to fame and wealth because we are constantly bombarded via social media with messages of someone being famous, their success being defined by their celebrity status, and it is almost made out that this has all happened in an instant. But success is something more than the number of followers you have or the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is getting out of bed in a morning when you don't want to face the world. It is helping your children figure out their homework. Asking someone out on a date, and if they say yes, it's a double success. Or maybe it is getting a promotion, setting yourself and challenge and sticking to it, solving a Rubik’s Cube (epic failure where I am concerned, nod to my sister who can do it in quick time). And in my case this weekend, it is seeing Mason doing a few twists/turns and taking a few steps walking to heel.

Success is unique. Success is individual. Success is whatever you say it is.