To be successful in my work means that I am able to touch others’ lives, to help them know they are not alone, and to impart some bit of joy or wisdom that will leave them better than before.
To be successful in my family means to love — to listen, to say I’m sorry when I’m wrong, to encourage, uplift, and to always strive to give the best of my time, talents, and heart.
To be successful as a human being means to continually examine myself, my motives, and my works; to connect spiritually, listen to what my Creator has in mind for me, and trust the process — to be open to learning and improving, and willing to share myself and serve gladly.
I guess overall, for me, success = faith, love, and joy (my three-word motto) — striving to do and be my personal best in work, family, and as a human being, forgiving myself when I’m not, picking myself back up, and diligently pressing forward again.
For Deborah Serani, Psy.D, a clinical psychologist and author of the book Living with Depression, success lies in the everyday, in the journey from setting a goal to realizing it.
For me, success is when I set a realistic goal, enjoy the journey as it unfolds and dwell in the momentary satisfaction when it all comes together. From cooking a new recipe, to learning a new yoga pose or taking a challenge that stretches my comfort zone, it’s the entire experience that offers me a sense of well-being. Success can be found in little things and big things. The key is to enjoy the ride once you set out on your material or existential destination.
Ryan Howes, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and author of the blog “In Therapy,” also prefers to focus on the flight, instead of the landing.
I try (really, really try!) to view life as a journey rather than a series of goals to be attained. I always feel less stressed and better able to focus on today when I’m in that mindset. With that framework, I try to view success as something to which I aspire rather than a goal with a finish line.
For me, success is achieving a healthy balance between the most important areas of my life. These include family and social relationships, occupational pursuits, hobbies, diet, exercise, rest, my spiritual life, and the continued pursuit of self-understanding.
I don’t think I’ve achieved this balance yet, as I only seem to maintain focus on one or two areas at a time. I may never find a way to keep all these plates spinning at once, but I will try for the rest of my life!
Jeffrey Sumber, M.A., a psychotherapist, author and teacher, described success as a triumph over trials and fear.
Success is overcoming challenges internal and external that at one time felt impossible or overbearing but with hard work and discipline I was able to rise above the fear or anxiety.
For most people success is a shifting concept, which transforms over time. It’s been for John Duffy, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and author of the book The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens. Today, his view includes being of service to others and being satisfied with his life.
My definition of success has shifted greatly over the years. I used to think I had to accomplish something that others deemed “great” in order to consider myself successful.
Today, I find success in happiness, kindness, and helpfulness. I find success in loving, connected, available relationships, in my family and elsewhere in my life, including my relationship with myself.
In order to feel fully successful, I feel I need to continue to find new ways to reach out to others and give of myself. Finally, I don’t think I could ever feel successful without a degree of happiness, contentment and humor.
Success has many faces. The definition just depends on who you ask. And that’s the magic of success: You get to figure out what it looks like for you.