Everyone has something that pushes them to be successful, something that guides them to become more successful in life. But in all reality, most people's version of success is different.
When I was younger I thought success was making a ton of money, having a nice house and a nice car. You know, living like the Jones'. Upon entering the business world and becoming an entrepreneur, my idea of success changed. I made monthly and yearly goals. Within five years of opening my cake business, my goal was to have a storefront. That was my vision of success. If I could have a storefront I would be successful.
Funny, after opening the storefront, my ideas of success changed again. You see, success, if you don't really have a final goal is always changing. After opening the storefront I was eligible to compete in competitions. Soon, I was rated as one of the top bakeries in Southern Minnesota and was nominated one of the top cupcake places in Minnesota. But I still kept striving for success? Why was it that I didn't feel successful? Seriously, so I kept going after what most people consider success. I had awards and nominations. I had become successful the way most cake decorators think would be success.... but I wanted more.
But what more could there be? Soon, I started looking at other "successful" bakeries. They were making desserts for people of high names, they were in publications. Was that going to make me feel successful? So, I started promoting my business a different way. Within a year I was published in magazines. Soon, I was doing desserts for tv news anchors, high end business professionals and even US Senators, which is now a presidential nominee. Seriously, I couldn't be any more successful than doing desserts for a US Senator? I still didn't feel successful. Anyone that looked at me saw me as successful, but why didn't I? I had lived my whole life thinking success was always what other people thought, but I soon learned that I was never going to be happy until I discovered what my success was.
To many people, success means having wealth and status. Big house, 5 cars, etc. However, success is much more than that. Success is driven by your passion. Not your passion of loving your job, the passion of why you do your job. The thing that really makes you happy in life. The thing that continues to drive you. After being in the baking world for 12 years, I wondered why it was never enough for me. I should have felt successful. I did everything that a successful person did, (ok I didn't have 5 cars). What I realized was I wasn't doing what has always made me happy in life. I wasn't helping people, at least I didn't feel like I was helping as many people as I could. I had the same customers, the same employees, I was at a stand still for helping more people. We couldn't accept more orders, therefore, my idea of success stalled out.
The importance of knowing what you feel makes you successful is important in your business. When you chase the wrong "success" you will continually be fighting to be successful, even if in everyone's eyes you already are. When you work for YOUR success, you truly will feel successful, even if you don't have a big house and 5 cars. Once you have your concept of success, it is a lot easier to do your job based on your success and not everyone else's. It's a lot easier to look at other businesses and quit comparing your company to theirs. It is a lot easier to be successful and happy.
So, what is your success?