Remember This About Success

Don’t subscribe to someone else’s definition of success.

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Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Last week I was part of a webinar series being recorded by a startup program as one of their alumni. We chatted casually about all things entrepreneurship — from founder development to fundraising, talent acquisition to our most notable failures. I was sitting with another founder as we answered a series of questions from the host over a roundtable discussion. Later, one of the members of the audience asked us a question around success and what it means to achieve success as a founder. I quickly realized that this was a question that nobody can answer for anyone. It reminded me how we often look to define success through others.

You cannot look to someone else to define what success looks like for you.

Success for me might be in the form of running a multimillion-dollar business where I can make a large global impact, whereas success to my neighbour could be simply having a steady job and time to unwind and chill with family every evening. Both are desirable outcomes but their success is subjective depending on who you ask.

What matters most is that you live your life based on your own definition of success. Not someone else’s.

No single one of us is made the same. I often have friends come to me and tell me they envy me as an entrepreneur. To them, I get to call the shots on my own life and do “cool” and exciting things all day. Whilst, I most certainly have autonomy I could never have as an employee, I do have the pressure of never switching off. I can’t end my day by the stroke of the clock; unfinished business could have real impacts on the sustainability of my business. And that is a choice I have made.

But to others my life is work and I don’t get to enjoy the simplicity of life. To them always having work matters on your mind is not a life worth living. Again, this is a matter of perspective. Success to someone like this is the freedom to live a peaceful life free of stress. And I respect those who find success and contentment in their jobs.

Once you figure out your version of success that is true to who you are, there are three fundamentals that will help you be successful. You can read more about them in this article:

At the end of the day, living a life that is authentic to who you are is what will help you achieve the success you are after. If you want to run a small business and make enough money to pay the bills, that is a success. If you want to scale that same business and raise VC money for it, that can also be a success. It all boils down to what you envision for yourself and your career as a founder in this instance. And that would be my answer.

Success is about what works for you. What makes you grow and prosper. If you follow your own voice, you’re always bound to get further ahead. That’s my two cents.

“Comparison is the thief of joy” — Theodore Roosevelt

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