How Do You Know You Are Successful?

Josh L
4 min readJan 25, 2022


It may not be as easy as you think

Photo by Razvan Chisu on Unsplash

Success has many meanings. Some view success as a certain number of dollars or awards. Others view it as happiness.

First, let’s talk a little bit about why you should know your definition of success.

It’s important to have a definition of success so that you know you are moving in the right direction. I’ve noticed (and have been guilty myself many times) that some people may be overworking.

They are working so much that they lose track of where they wanted to go in the first place. They have their head down so low as they trudge through their work, they lose the vision of where they’re going.

Sometimes we get get so caught up in the motivational and self help talk that we work harder instead of smarter. We need to take a step back and revaluate where we are heading.

Which brings me to my next point.

We need to have a clear definition of success so that we know when to change things up. When we are working all the time, it is easy to miss that the work we are doing isn’t working.

If you always have your head down, you can’t see how your plan is going. You may be working hard, but that does not mean you are headed in a positive direction.

Success is usually measured by something tangible. This is much easier to track and the goal is clear.

For example, a company may want to make x amount of dollars this month. A musician may want to sell 100 albums in a week.

When we don’t hit these numbers, we know something has to change. Our current plan isn’t working with our goals. It’s time to wither change strategies or reevaluate your goals.

Companies often have tangible goals because it is easy to get everyone on the same page. The group or team can understand what needs to be accomplished.

When I was a bank teller, we had sales goals. Our managers and higher ups would ask us to get more products to the customer. Most of the time, it was trying to get people to open up credit cards with us.

Other times, it was getting people to open checking or savings accounts. When the end of the month came and you weren’t at that magic number, management would have a “coaching” session with you.

Say you were short on the credit card goal. They would tell you that you needed to ask every customer if they had heard of the new promo and go from there.

This included people that didn’t even need it. They didn’t care. If the bank tellers didn’t hit their goal, then the branch didn't make theirs. That meant cooperate would not be pleased and the managers would take the fall.

This is an example of tangible goals that are more greed related than anything.

Intangible goals are much harder to measure. For example, say your goal is to become more confident. How do you measure this?

What if you wanted to be happier? How do you know you are happier than before? We all have good days and bad days. There is no measurable number to use.

It is even harder when you try to sell something that isn’t tangible. This would be a confidence coach or interior designer for homes.

Yes, the designer can make your house look great, but why do you care? It is your job as the sales person to explain to the homeowner why they need their house to look stylish.

Maybe they bring clients there and want to make a good impression. Maybe having a nicer home will give them that confidence to do better at whatever they do.

It is your job to make it clear to them why they need these things. Since they’re intangibles, what they get out of it needs to be crystal clear. They need to understand the benefits.

When you are not measuring if you are headed to success, you will repeat the same mistakes. If you keep trying the same thing over and over and it’s not working, you need to be aware of that.

Today more than ever, we have distractions all around us. They pull us away from what we should be paying attention to. Because of this, it’s easy to not realize something isn’t working.

This can also go the other way. Maybe there is an aspect of your life that is working for you and bringing you a lot of success. If you don’t realize it’s working for you, you might not give that aspect as much attention as you should.

Or even worse, you might stop doing it entirely.

Make sure you are always gauging if you are headed to your definition of success. There are no wrong answers as to what success means to you.

Be aware of the direction you're heading in at all times.