Word Of the Week #545: Success

January 14, 2015 by  

Success: the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted.

What does success mean to you? When was the last time you achieved something you desired? What one success would you like to achieve in your lifetime?

This week’s WOW comes from the Wall Street Journal article written by Dennis Nishi titled, What Does ‘Success’ Mean, Anyway? I am going to cover his two key points in the next two WOW’s.

  1. Think for Yourself.

Employees dissatisfied with their careers may not be entirely to blame for the choices they’ve made. Many ideas about success are often not your own, say experts. It happens early and often subconsciously. People are influenced by the simple rewards systems learned in high school and college and by what is portrayed as success by the media and in popular culture. There are also strong parental expectations to continue the family business or enter stable, respectable professions.

As a result, people may wake up years later uncertain of why they are dissatisfied, says Richard Shell, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and author of “Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success.” That’s one reason he recommends people take pit stops to evaluate themselves.

a success

“Unfortunately, many Americans think of their careers as a race and feel that if they stop to change a tire in the pit, everybody will pass you by,” says Mr. Shell, who has seen many students discover midway through their M.B.A.s that they want to do something other than finance.

Mr. Shell says, “The first step is to put success into your own context. Shift your perspective toward what’s important to you, as opposed to something outside yourself. You need to overcome any limits that you’ve imposed on yourself. Once you’ve gotten over the idea of being the richest or most famous person and have a good sense of what’s truly meaningful, set some long-term goals and start moving in that direction. You may not end up going to the exact place you idealize, but you’ll at least move toward something that can be more satisfying.”

This week is all about what success means to you. Are you fulfilled in your job? Are you doing “what is expected” because someone else dictated that? Do you have a good sense of what’s truly meaningful to you? What long-term goals could you set to help you move in that direction?

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