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How does the world, your contemporaries, your competitors, or others define success in life or in business?

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Is it fame, notoriety, wealth, popularity, power? Is it a certain amount of profit, income, or market share?

Who cares?

Success, true success should be defined on your own terms and in the context of what you can influence and control in your own life and business.

William Faulkner said “Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” It may not be your definition of “success” but it’s a pretty darn good example of succeeding, in my opinion.

To me, success is being better at what’s most important to me than I’ve been before. Success means being the best I can in the endeavors, pursuits, principles, and passions I hold most dear. It matters not by who’s standard, simply my own.

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Success, like love, beauty, happiness, and all things grand and glorious is a subjective, abstract criterion that has only the meaning we give it.

I can’t tell you how to be totally happy, what true love means to you or what or who is the height of beauty, but I can tell you this. If you ask 100 people to give you a universal, undeniable definition and ultimate proof that their “opinion” is the one true interpretation of happiness, love, and beauty you’re going to get dozens of different answers for a 100 different reasons and rationales. Same goes for success.

Tony Robbins is fond of saying “success leaves clues”; that it does. Examples of success exist all around us. But I would caution not to use the “success” of others as the measure or the definition of your own success.

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Model the strategies of people who meet your definition of success in your areas of passion and aspiration. Use their performance for inspiration. Learn from their mistakes and their accomplishments. But evaluate yourself by your own standards, your own capabilities, and most importantly your definition of “personal” success.

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Tags: Spike Humer, Change, Goals, Decisions, Motivation, Success, Achievement, Mentors, Learning, Self-growth, Leadership