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Creating Successful Leaders

Define success in own terms

Most of my work is and has been people-oriented. Professionally, I spent nearly 30 years at 3M, working in various sales leadership positions. Now, I work with a wide range of clients through my career coaching business, UXL. In my personal life, I am involved in my church; I teach spin at the local gym; and I volunteer for several different organizations. Suffice it to say, I’ve met a lot of people through all these different avenues!

Some of the people I’ve met have been very career-oriented, some emphasize family above all else, some prefer spending their free time volunteering in the community and making a difference. Each person has different dreams and goals and different things they consider important. Because of that, how could there possibly be ONE measure of success?

And yet, our culture tends to paint a picture of success with one brush.

We consider a successful American to have a well-paying job, a nice house, a 401K, a loving family. We see wealth and power as the ultimate definitions of success. But that’s not everyone’s definition and shouldn’t be everyone’s definition.

If you define your personal success based on others’ measuring sticks, you’ll be constantly disappointed. What does success mean to YOU? What gives you satisfaction?

The idea of defining your own success really hits home whenever I volunteer at the Peace House, a shelter for troubled women. Many of the residents define success by having the ability to meet their basic needs—having shelter, sufficient food, and love from their families. They strive for independence, a steady income, a job that they enjoy. Some of them aim to get their GED or a certificate in a trade. For them, sales goals, investment portfolios, and owning a yacht are abstract concepts of success. AND THAT’S OKAY.

“But, wait,” you might be thinking, “my definition of success is meeting my sales goals, tucking some money away, and eventually owning a boat!” THAT’S OKAY TOO.

As soon as you figure out what you want out of life, you can work toward it with confidence. Sure, your definition of success may grow and evolve, but it should always reflect your personal ambitions instead of outside pressure to fit into others’ ideas of success.

 

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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