Success is defined in the dictionary as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. Seems straightforward, doesn’t it? We all want it. However, it can be such a tricky word and so hard to reach.

If you ask several people what success means to them, you would get completely different answers. And that’s OK. Some define it as receiving a particular job title or a salary threshold. Others define it as spending as much quality time with their significant other or children. All of those are great definitions of success.

A problem lies, however, when someone cannot define success for themselves or they reach success but cannot decide what to do after it. They aimlessly float, hoping to stumble across something great. Maybe they try too hard to define it in one word or perhaps they feel that it is extra pressure to strive for success. Sometimes they are too worried about how others have defined success for them.

Method to Define Success

I have seen that much too often. When I work with a client on career coaching or consult with a business owner, I help the client get specific on their definition of success. I have a method on developing the definition of success with my clients. We explore what gives them joy, what gives them balance, and what they feel is currently missing.  We discuss how to balance their definition of their career with their personal life. We then set goals and draw up plans to reach those goals. When goals are set up in subsets or chunks, it’s much easier to reach.

My Definition

I define success as supporting others on their career journey, helping them achieve their goals in their business and career. My definition of success has changed over the years. For me, success is not stagnant. I need to continuously push myself further and reach for new goals.

I once thought that if I had a certain job title by the age of 30, I would feel I “made it” and was successful. When I received that job title at the age of 28, I felt successful, but I didn’t stop there. I redefined success for myself several times after that. I look at success as a journey instead of a one stop destination.

What is your definition of success? I would like to hear your definition in the comments below.

When I was in college, I was part of an internship program that gave me the opportunity to work with a career coach on resume building and interview skills. The best part: it was FREE. You would think that would be a no-brainer decision. I wish I could say I worked with this coach and she brought me great success in my job search. That’s not how my story goes, however. I chose not to work with the coach.

The Others

Almost every other student in the internship program worked with the career coach. With the help of this coach, I witnessed one of my friends get his dream job with a huge corporation. He still works for the same company, has traveled the globe in various positions, and has been promoted numerous times. Another student in the internship program had multiple high salary offers to choose from. A goal from another student going through career coaching was to make a difference and brand herself for an employer involved in community activism. She is currently the regional director for well-known non-profit organization. It appeared that everyone that chose to work with the coach had success. She taught them important skills that will last them a lifetime.


Why in the world would I have made the decision not work with the coach…for free? The answer is pretty simple. I was scared plus my ego got in the way.

I was very proud of my resume. I worked very hard putting it together to make it look nice. I didn’t want someone tearing it apart and start all over. I had the opinion that my resume was top notch. I had no one else’s opinion about that, though.

Interviews were not my strength. And I knew it. I didn’t want to be told I stunk by someone else, I thought. I wanted to keep it a secret but I thought I was a failure. I was fearful the coach would tell me that I was a waste of her time to help me. I assumed my future employer would see what a great student I was and the experiences I had and hire me no matter how I did at the interview. I figured a good job would come up sooner or later. I clearly needed that coach.

The thing is, looking back, I had the skills and knowledge for the jobs I applied for. I didn’t know how to communicate those skills and knowledge to my potential employer and I had no idea what my strengths were that I could offer my future employer.

Breakthrough Moment

Several years later, I had the opportunity to work with an executive career coach through my employer. What I learned through the process was nothing short of amazing. She opened my eyes and had the ability to push me further into career success. It was truly a great experience. She helped me find my strengths. Through that coaching experience, I finally learned how to communicate my strengths to others.

I have had great success in my career, but I always wonder what may have been different if I decided to work with a career coach in college. Don’t let fear or your ego get in the way of your success.
If you are ready for your career breakthrough moment, let’s discuss the strategies you can use to reach your career goals.