How Do You Define “Success?”

JasonC —  March 19, 2013 — 1 Comment

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I’ve blogged before about setting goals and how important that is to the success of your business. But the idea I’ll cover here is subtly different. Today I’m going to talk about the importance of creating your own definition of success.

One thing I’ve noticed in the direct sales industry is that so many women let other people define “success” for them. Whether that means society, family, friends, or co-workers. Whenever you’re letting someone else define success for you, it creates an empty or hollow end point. The sense of achievement you get from accomplishing something big will never really be there when you let someone else define your success point.

Common Pitfalls For Defining Success In Direct Sales:

1. Comparing yourself and your business to another person’s business.

This is especially true when girls who are either new in the business or who’ve recently become interested in working their business “hard” start looking at the superstars in their company. There is a temptation to compare themselves and create this expectation that they’ll be able to do the same. Most of the time, this is just plain unreasonable. For instance, going from consulting level to director and then senior director (in other words promoting multiple levels) within a short period of time.

This is a dangerous trap. Your situation is almost certainly different from theirs, whether that be your location or life situation.

Holley & Traci Strutting

Holley & Traci strutting across stage in recognition for earning the leadership incentive trip to Cancun last July.

 

2. Letting your family or friends define success for you.

A lot of time family members think of direct sales as a hobby. You’ll hear them saying things about getting a “real job” or the like. Let’s face it: some people just “don’t get it.” Just to pick a random example, they’ll look at your “real job” as a teacher with a higher degree of respect than as a full time direct-sales person. Maybe they look at the “safety” of a public sector job or a regular paycheck from any job as being of higher value just because it’s “normal.” More often than not, in real life, “normal” is actually worse than the alternatives. People will try to discredit what you do because you’re doing it yourself. Whether that is with direct sales or any small business.

Keep this in mind when you’re talking to people who don’t run their own business. They will often overemphasize the concepts of “job security” and “benefits” and underemphasize the opportunities that come with running your own business like real earning potential and flexibility in your schedule (not to mention opportunities to travel).

Look at it this way: Bill Gates would never have become a billionaire if he’d become a CPA working for some big business somewhere.

 

So, how do you take control and define success for yourself?

1. Think about what success means to YOU

This can mean a specific income level, time expended in your business, or time spent with your family instead of business. Choose your priorities in life and let that guide you.

2. Don’t let others influence your definition of success

When you let others contribute to that definition, it diminishes the joy you’ll have in achieving success.

3. Remember that you are in control

It’s all too easy in this day and age for us to let things slip away from us. Fundamentally, you’re in control of what is success in your eyes.

4. Write it down!

As with goals, this is a hugely important part of it. Writing down what success means to you (and maybe even why it is) will keep you focused. Return to your success definition regularly for motivation,  and focus. And every so often, you may need to make changes to your definition of success. Your priorities in life change and so will your definition of success.

While “success” and “goals” aren’t the same thing, you should keep in mind that success is your defined end point. All of your goals (short-term, medium-term, and long-term) should be directed towards achieving success. Likewise, accomplishing your individual goals are individual successes in themselves. So they definitely go hand-in-hand.

Note to Direct Sales Husbands out there:

Don’t make assumptions about your wife’s definition of success. This is something you should definitely talk about directly so you can make absolutely certain you are on the same page. Think about it. If you think her definition of “success” is to bring in enough money to pay for a yearly vacation and her idea of success is to make $100,000 a year while at the same time going on every field trip and special event with the kids and attending 90% of their activities, then you’re selling her short. It could just as easily be that you think her definition is the latter and hers is the former. Either way, if you’re not on the same page, you’re not actually helping the situation. Don’t let yourself fall into pitfall number 2 above.

Question:

What is your definition for success in your business?

 

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  • Frank H. Farmer

    Hey Jason,
    The defining of personal success kinda ties in to our talk yesterday. From my perspective, at this point in my working life, success involves having a thorough understanding of my God-given strengths, talents, interests, and personality. From there, I set realistic, worthwhile goals, take appropriate actions, and ultimately live these goals to bring glory to God and to please him—not necessarily satisfying the ideals that others try to define for us as individuals.

    At some point, I would even set new goals for the future to work towards as I discover new areas interest or acquire a new skill set.

    My version of success includes a business model of work that is more meaningful to me while being a blessing to others. Additionally, work that allows for more time freedom and flexibility, while enabling me to provide for the family would be ideal for me. When this comes to fruition, I will have achieved my current definition of success.