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How Do You Define Success?

Linda Seger, PhD February 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

Success” seems to be the magic word for what people chase after, prepare for, choose and desire. It’s how people often define their lives. Money, fame and power are commonly thought to make up success.

World definitions of success

Americans tend to define success by money, and by what money can buy. This doesn’t mean more fulfillment or contributing to make the world better in some way. It simply means more things.

People in other countries may define success more in terms of whether they enjoy their work, and if it gives them an opportunity to spend time with their families and have balanced lives.

Success and effectiveness

For some, success is defined by effectiveness. Are they making things happen? Are they achieving project goals? Are they contributing in a way that adds value to the spa? Success for them means the spa becomes better as a result of their participation. They can see the results and feel fulfilled by their work, but also know their work fulfills others, because the products and services offered at their skin care facility are helping clients.

Success and joy

Some define success by whether their job suits them and by how much joy they feel as a result of their work. They define it by the joy they feel when they do their work, and by the joy that others feel as a result of their work.

This joy not only comes from their own work, but from collaboration with other talented people who not only bring their skills to the skin care facility, but also bring harmony to the working relationship. Nobody wants to work among discord. For many, if those work relationships aren’t fulfilling and harmonious, they don’t feel good about their work, about themselves or about others.

Success and balance

Some define success by the sense of balance they have between their work lives and the rest of their lives. For them, work is not what success is about. They believe that life needs to be balanced, and that work is not meant to be the only thing in life.

If a job is driving someone— demanding all their time and giving them no balance between their work, physical exercise, time with their family and other relationships, and time for spiritual growth—then the balance is off and many would consider this is not living a successful life.

Making a difference

Ultimately, many define success by how their lives will be summed up at their funerals. Will attendees be talking about how much money the person made or perhaps even say “good riddance” to a failure of a human being? Or will they be talking about this person’s contributions and how blessed they feel to have known this person as a friend or co-worker? For most, success is ultimately defined by the good that has been contributed, and by what is remembered about someone who has finished the work. Ask yourself: Have I made a good difference?

Linda Seger, ThD, is the author of The Better Way to Win: Connecting Not Competing for Success (Xlibris, 2011), and Spiritual Steps on the Road to Success (Monarch Books, 2009). She began her business as a script consultant in 1981 and recently received a lifetime achievement award for her contributions to the film industry. Seger can be reached via e-mail at

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