How to Redefine Success for Yourself

The last year that I ran my team, Real Estate with Heart, I set our sights on a very specific goal. I wanted us to sell $100 million in real estate by the end of 2017, and I was ready to do whatever it took to get there.

By the time December rolled around, we had all worked incredibly hard. Everyone was exhausted and ready to celebrate—except for me. We hadn’t met our goal, and I felt like a failure.

When I say we didn’t meet our goal, I want to be clear that we almost did. Everyone deserved praise. 

But I couldn’t celebrate what we had done. I could only focus on what we hadn’t.

Understanding Success

When you have a moment where you feel like you’ve failed, it can be hard to get going again. If you’re feeling that way, it might be time to take a look at your definition of success.

My definition of success used to be simple: achieving the goals that I set out to achieve. Achieve the goal, celebrate success—or wallow in defeat, regardless of how close I came—and move on to the next goal. Rinse. Repeat.

Over time, that changed. I began to understand that the true definition of success for me is whether or not I had felt happiness that day. If the answer is yes (which it usually is), then I achieved success that day.

For me, finding more success started with a shift in perspective. Feel like you’ve failed? It may be time to rethink some things. 

When Failure Arrives

Here are a couple of questions to determine whether it may just be a matter of seeing things differently.

  1. Is your ego your enemy?

    If you’re feeling like a failure because your ego is bruised, then it’s ego that’s guiding your definition of success. Hit pause, reflect on your purpose (your why), and let your why guide your definition.
  2. Are you putting your energy into things that are uncontrollable?

    We all face things that we can and cannot control. Ask yourself if the failure was the result of a choice you made or a force outside of yourself. If you failed at something controllable, spend some time thinking about the lessons you learned and what you could do differently the next time. If it’s uncontrollable? It’s time to let it go.

How you understand and respond to failure and success can dictate how you operate at work, at home, and in every part of your life. More importantly, it will determine how far you go.