What Does Success Look Like to You?

I stumbled across this image about a week ago. Chris Brogan, president of Human Business Works and all-world marketer, shared this via Google+ on September 18 (a post originally shared by Jason Keath).

I was struck by this image (rather two images bundled into one) and have viewed this each day since first double-clicking it a week ago. I feel compelled to share this with the Get Busy Media community in an effort to generate as much discussion as possible about the topic of success. With no further ado, I propose to you:

What is your idea of success?


It’s as plain and simple as that. We would love to hear your thoughts below on what success is and more importantly, how you measure and attain success. Thanks for sharing and as always, thanks for reading.

To see more surrounding this conversation, you can jump over to our Facebook page to see the most recent contributions to this discussion.


Thanks again for sharing. For more from Get Busy Media, feel free to reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter.





  1. says

    The following is an excerpt from a paper I wrote in May of 2006, entitled, “My Philosophy of Life,” People measure success in various ways. Many base success solely on money. Their line of reasoning is logical; money buys you possessions and supposedly happiness. Others equate success with having a great job, a fantastic spouse, and a bulletproof reputation. I equate success with having a tight knit family, enough money in my pocket to live relatively independent, and having friends that make you better. I take great pride in the fact that each and every night I say good night to my family and use the three simple words “I love you.”

  2. says

    I think that, like most important concepts having to do with everyday human life, success is incredibly relative. All too often I think people forget that and define success based on how they think it should be defined, rather than how they personally wish to define it. This is a great post and a great exercise in introspection, I’m glad you posted this, Jim!

    I define success on happiness. I feel successful when I feel happy, because I think that when I feel happy, I am able to be productive, and helpful for myself and for others. So, to truly answer the quesiton you have posed, I think I would have to define what would make me happy.

    Not all that dissimilar from your response, Jim, my happiness is defined primarily by stepping back and assessing my life in term of the following:
    – My financial independence
    – How challenged I feel: I feel happy and successful when I feel like I am growing in what I do, how I think and how I respond.
    – My health (mental and physical)
    – My loved ones: a lot of my happiness stems from my ability to spend quality time with friends and family.

    When all of these things are in balance, I feel happy and successful.

    If we’re focusing on “career” I would have to say that I will feel like I have “made it” when I am being paid enough to support myself and my family somewhat comfortably without overwhelming worry …doing something that I love.

    • says

      Brittany, this is an amazing contribution to the discussion. I love how you point out that happiness is in the eyes of the beholder and that it’s up to the individual to realize happiness. Happiness is not a certain benchmark set by society that we strive to achieve…it’s relative depending on the individual. Thanks Brittany!

  3. says

    What a brave discussion to toss out there.– and given that the answer is somewhat out there, this is really interesting. One always hopes that one’s life is a straight line– yet it never is.. because if it were, what would you learn from that straight line of accomplishment? failure is an important aspect to success and it requires that someone get the idea that maybe the idea (s) of what one is trying to achieve or accomplish often need a return to the drawing board or the input of others who can give you some insight based on their experience.

    work/life balance
    personal assessment of what makes one happy.. and personal happiness and self-esteem are critical
    I completely agree with Brittany that challenge is crucial.. otherwise what would you feel like you did at the end of a day (week, month, year) Having goals to achieve are part of that challenge.

    Health, friends, strong relationships both in business and in personal life– are essential to success.. because otherwise who would you share your life with…
    Plus the person you see in the mirror.. if you like that person.. feel and see the value of their/your self-worth.. that’s the best measure of success.. It’s the person in the mirror who really makes the best determination of your own success..

    • says

      Thanks so much for your contribution Stevie, this is wonderful. I completely agree with you. I think most of us would like our lives to be a straight line filled with successes and triumphs but along the way we scrape our knees, fall down and fail.

      I have always felt that if an individual has not experienced failure, he/she is not pushing themselves to the limit…and thus not maximizing his/her potential. The best way to realize your potential is to learn from your failures and apply the lessons learned in failure to future endeavors.

      Thanks so much for your contribution Stevie (and for your contributions in past posts :) ).

  4. says

    Success is having more than enough, being happy and at peace with your life. Success is not solely determined by how much money you have in the bank. There are a lot of people – even in today’s recessionary environment – who have more than enough money in the bank, but are neither happy or at peace with their life.

  5. Justin Kahle says

    Happiness is waking up in the morning believing that today will be a great day. Looking forward to the things on your agenda, believing you are making not only yourself better, but the others around you better with what you are doing. Sometimes people get lost in themselves and lose sight of happiness. I think it is important to take a step back, view the world around you and say, “Wow, isn’t this incredible? Doesn’t the world have so much beauty in it?” Happiness is being true to yourself and loving those close to you everyday no matter what because without that, what else is there?

    • says

      Awesome stuff Justin. Really appreciate this. I think a lot of us get caught up in the day-to-day stress of work, responsibilities and commitments and we lose focus of what’s important in life. At the end, an individual is not going to be remembered for being great at his job…rather it’s the qualities of that person that serve as the foundation of his legacy.

      Thanks so much for your comment.

  6. Geoff Peirce says

    I love this question as it always seems to be different for everyone and your view of success can change from day to day and hour to hour. I dont believe my view of success can be easily summed up in any particular way but for the most part success to me is sense of accomplishment and a feeling of relevance and content. Have I bettered someone elses life today? Did I make a difference? These questions are something I think about each night. When you have succeeded in something, even if it is just a small taste of something bigger, this can provide confidence and drive for all aspects of life.

    • says


      Really appreciate your contribution here, really well put. I agree with you, I think one’s definition of success changes daily, weekly and yearly. There are outside forces and internal forces that change your priorities and thus change your definition of success. Thanks again Geoff.


  7. says

    Oh the look of success! What does it mean? It’s a funny question is some ways. I used to think I knew what success meant to me. Big house, big cars, big, big, big everything. But then a funny thing happened………

    I worked hard and got a big house, a big car, and bigger this’ and that’s, but even though I had achieved my perception of success it didn’t feel like success. Something was missing.

    Oh, I know, you might think I neglected my family or worked 24/7 and didn’t live life. If you did, you’d be wrong. I spent time with both my kids, my wife, and yes, pampered myself with personal indulgences. What was missing, after achieving success was purposes.

    A purpose that originally fired the fuel to achieve success in the first place.

    Now, some twenty years later, after having created a sizable net-worth, and subsequently lost it in the “great recession” through my previous business, I’ve re-found that purposes.

    Success to me is not about money. It started out about money, because I was raised without much more than two blue collar working parents could provided (although I was provided everything). Success to me is about the freedom of controlling time, your time, time to do what you want, when you want, and with who you want.

    This type of success allows you to get the bills paid, pay the mortgage, make investments, take trips, go fishing/golf or whatever it is you define as fun. This for me defines success.

    Success can be fleeting, it can be obtained, enjoyed, lost, and rekindled. The meaning of success is truly in the eye of it’s beholder. Wish for what you believe to be success, and then work four times as hard to achieve it, and when you do achieve it relish in it, embrace it, and don’t forget to remember why you wanted it in the first place.

    Enjoy your life, and through this you will receive all the success life can offer.

  8. says


    This comment blew me away. I have considered your comment and re-read this at least a half-dozen times. The clarity and passion behind your message is palpable and real. I think anyone who tackles the idea of success and its meaning should read your comment.

    You have provided us with unbelievable perspective and honesty…I truly appreciate your comment and I know I don’t speak for myself. Thanks so much Chris, hope you had a great weekend.



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