How to Achieve Success

March 26, 2018

SuccessThe path is filled with hard work, dedication and a passion for life! Just be sure you're headed in the right direction.

Do you want to be successful? If that seems like one of the easiest questions you've been asked in a long time, your path to success might actually be heading in the wrong direction. Success is a subjective term, and it holds varying definitions. If your goal is to be successful, you must first determine what being successful means to you. The initial question isn't necessarily whether you want to be successful, but more so, what is your definition of success?

If you can figure out how to define success in your life before putting in all of the hard work and effort, it makes the journey much easier and ensures you'll achieve what you want.

Think about it like this: if you were embarking on a major business initiative, you would never begin doing all of the hard work without first establishing clear metrics for success.

Determine your Definition of Success

Success typically depends on what makes you happiest in life. It's safe to say we all have goals and objectives, but the means in which we derive our happiness can be completely different. Being wealthy is at the top of the list of priorities when it comes to finding happiness for many people; while others may feel happiest when they give back to the community. People who enjoy helping others might see the intrinsic value of their acts as a far greater reward than having all the money in the world.

What makes you the happiest? What goals do you have in mind? Is your path to success draped in 'Employee of the Year' Awards? Is making as much money as you possibly can your biggest concern? If this is the case for you, your goals are objective.

Or is it more important for you to be happy at work, have more free time and the ability to relax and recharge when you get home? Those goals are more aligned with the subjective.

Objective Goals:

  • Attaining a specific standard of proficiency on a task, usually in a specified time. Objective goals are based on performance.

Subjective Goals:

  • General objectives such as having fun or doing your best.

Objective and subjective goals work in unison. Subjective success is actually your response to an objective situation. It's important to find the correct balance, or your happy medium of success. Setting realistic goals that help motivate you toward achieving success is always a good place to start.

The Harvard Business Review interviewed nearly 4,000 senior executives and asked what success meant to them in work and in life. The senior executives in the research sample revealed that keeping a high-powered career and a family on track meant allocating energy and time wisely. In that case, if you're only trying to fulfill your objective rewards, it may not be all that realistic, or as satisfying as you might imagine. (Source: Setting realistic goals that help motivate you toward achieving success is always a good place to start.

Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Results-focused
  • Time-bound

Using the S.M.A.R.T. Goals formula really helps keep you on track and prevents you from feeling overwhelmed as you're doing all the hard work to become successful. (Source:

Common Problems with Setting Goals

  • Failing to set specific goals.
  • Setting too many goals too soon.
  • Failing to adjust your goals.
  • Failing to set performance and process goals.
  • Not following up on your goals.
  • Failing to evaluate your goals.

How did I Achieve Success? I've been asked many times how I was able to achieve success, and I usually deflect (unknowingly) to luck, circumstances, having a great team and timing is everything, etc. However, to think deeply about this produced some different answers. Younger professionals looking to become successful don't usually have a great team or they depend on luck.

I want to give them an answer from my own experiences that will be truly useful to them. I feel with every successful person, we often don't see the years of toil and focus that lead up to this point.

The time leading up to any success can be full of:

  • Deeply rooted inside and connected to their intuition.
  • Have ambitious personalities encouraging others to higher accomplishments.
  • Passionate about living a fulfilling life.
  • Constantly pushing themselves out of their comfort zone.

Maybe you've been down on your luck, don't have a great team yet, or the timing just never seems to be right. However, don't let those negative thoughts derail your focus if you want to be successful. Remember, success doesn't happen overnight. It's a labor of life. It often takes years of hard work and turmoil before you rise to the level of success you want. However, once you achieve success, you'll be motivated and ready for more. All of the obstacles I had faced leading up to my successes were becoming distance memories soon thereafter. Life is often a series of growth spurts interspersed with periods of rest/complacency followed by failures/hard work. That makes defining your version of success much more important in the beginning. You don't want to put in all of the time, effort and hard work before learning what the definition of success really means to you. Success translates to happiness. Now go find what make you happiest in your life. If you can do that, your path to success should start to come into clear focus and develop much more quickly.