Success means different things to different people. You may evaluate your success by: what you can buy, how you get paid, or what you can do. When most people are asked what success means to them they start off listing things they could buy, or the amount of money they would have. Sometimes they’ll define success by the title they want to have, or how they want to earn a living. That’s very closely related to what you can buy because usually they’re thinking that if they could earn a living that way they would have the money to buy the things they want. But when you get past the money issues and dig a little deeper you come to realize that success is really more about being able to spend your time doing the things you want to do. You need money to make that happen, but money isn’t really the end goal it’s just a supporting goal to get you to the point where you can spend your time doing what you want to do.
Why is it important to make this distinction? Well, if you don’t know what you’re really after you can get caught up in decisions that take you places you don’t want to be. You can end up living a life you don’t want to live in spite of fulfilling your financial objectives. In spite of having all the money you need you’re miserable, and you feel trapped. You don’t know how to get out of the trap because by the time you figure it out you’re usually living a lifestyle that can only be supported by doing things you don’t necessarily want to do.
So how do you really define success? In general, success is the continuous achievement of your own predetermined goals that enable you to do the things you want to do. How do you want to live? If you were successful what would you spend your typical day doing? Who would you spend it with? Where would you spend it? How would spending your time this way provide value to others in the world?
Success is achieved one goal at a time. But unless you understand what success means to you, and what you want it’s pretty hard to set the right goals to get you there. It’s hard to know if you’re taking the right action, and it’s hard to know if you’re not taking the right action. The funny thing about goals is that they’re so easy yet very few people know how to get the goals they set.
There’s a right way to set goals and a thought process that greatly increases your odds of getting the goals you set. Most people think they know how to set goals, and they do get some of the goals they set. They just don’t seem to get the really important goals. If you want to master success you need to clearly define success and then become a master goal getter so you can get there.