What does success look like?

What does success in your business look like to you? For some, it will be earning money, for some it will be the sense of achievement. We all start our businesses for different reasons, but our end goal is usually that we have a successful business.

It’s important to know what success means to you and what it looks like and feels like. Then you can create your goals to achieve your end result.  You might have a three-year plan, a five-year plan, or even a ten-year plan – again we’re all different and it will all come down to the expectations we have of ourselves and how our business performs.

Success quotes

Look at the quotes above.

They each have a different take on success.

“Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.” Richard Branson, a British entrepreneur and adventurer, has led a life full of ups and downs. He has always embraced his moments of success and struggle alike. He has always turned his failures into steppingstones for success. He’s done everything from record labels to airlines and he advocates that there is always a different or new opportunity… you just have to look for it. And he is proof that multiple income streams work!

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”  Henry David Thoreau was born and died in the 1800s. He was an American philosopher, essayist and poet. He believed that to live life to its fullest, people needed to simplify, get rid of unnecessary material possession and even unnecessary socialising. He also believed that if you are seeking success, you are likely to be romanticising the idea and not getting on with the hard, practical work necessary to achieve it.

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” Albert Schweitzer was a theologian, organist, writer, humanitarian, philosopher and physician. He felt that peoples’ ideas of success were backwards. He saw that people struggled to achieve success in order to feel good about themselves, but the real joy and happiness is in the doing, not in the end goal. He felt that was where true happiness was.

Which of these quotes resonates most with you? I think that most of us would take a little from each. I believe that multiple income streams are the way forward; I also believe that you have to work hard to achieve what you want, and that success is useless if I’m not happy.

Expectations

As I said earlier, all of us business owners are different. We all come from different backgrounds, with different experiences in everything we’ve done, from education to life itself…and those experiences go a long way to shaping how we feel about success. For some, having a healthy bank account is the epitome of success, whilst for others, it might be as simple as having a work/life balance, so they get quality time with their families.  

What you expect from your business is linked to the way you view your achievements. For example, you might do something that other people find impressive, but you have such high expectations of yourself that you might feel disappointed.

Another example is that you may come from a family where your parents were very strict and expected a lot from you. This kind of upbringing can make people put heaps of pressure on themselves to succeed. High expectations of this kind can cause some people to see their achievements as nothing to be proud of and may see even the biggest achievement as mediocre.

On the other hand, someone who had parents who taught them to be proud of everything they achieve, no matter how small, would celebrate all achievements and be proud of everything they achieve.

Success is about liking what you do, loving your business, being proud of your achievements and loving how you organise your business to get that success. And, most importantly, liking yourself!

The following views of success can potentially open your eyes to the reasons WHY you’re starting a business.

Examples of success

Here are a few more examples of what you might define as success.

Happiness

So many people live their lives being unhappy, for whatever reason. But to some, being successful is being happy – not necessarily making loads of money, but enough to provide for their family. Doing a job you love will make you happy, and to some, that is enough.

Achieving a goal

When you start your business, you will have an end goal in site. You’ll also have lots of other business goals that you’ll set every year as part of your marketing strategy. Often, achieving your goals will mean success – you’ve achieved what you set out to do. Once you know and understand exactly what success looks like to you, you’ll be able to set goals that help you achieve that.

Love what you do and do what you love

There are so many people who work just because they must – they don’t enjoy their work – it’s just a means to an end…payday. And if you’re happy with that, that’s fine, but there are many for whom their job is not satisfying. And they might be spending more than 40 hours a week doing that job.

Having your own business and doing something that you love, will give you more job satisfaction. You’ll feel that you’re doing something you’re passionate about and because you’re doing what you love – you’ll love doing it. Starting your own business is no picnic – there are lots of things to consider and you won’t be an overnight success, but you’ll be working for you, putting money and satisfaction in your pocket, not someone else’s.

Work/Life balance

This is so important to all of us. Working hard, doing long hours can be the norm when you first start your business, but it’s absolutely crucial to have quality down time with your friends and family. If life is all work, work, work, you’ll eventually suffer from burnout. So, it’s important to try and strike the right balance between work and life. For some people, this is the crux of being successful…they have a business that is successful, AND they have time for family, friends, hobbies etc.

Making a difference

For some business owners, success is about being able to have the money to be able to make a difference to others. This can look different to different people. For example, one business might support an animal charity and make donations; another might sponsor a child’s education in a poorer country; to some it will be helping other businesses to be successful, by giving free information or coaching; some might support a charity or organisation that will make a difference to our world or climate. You get the idea!

For these business owners, the success is in seeing the difference or positive impact that they are making.

Conclusion

No matter what you do, or how you do it, success will be dependent on how you view it. It won’t be the same as your mate down the road. The great thing about us as humans is that we’re all unique, we all have our own freewill and can make our own choices for ourselves and our businesses.

I’ll ask the question I asked at the beginning…What does success in your business look like to you? Being successful might not be having your own business, you might enjoy working for a large corporation or small company. It’s important to be happy in what you do, so whatever you feel is best for you is the right thing to do.

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