What is Success? My (Short) Response, and: How Would YOU Define Success?

Albert Einstein Success QuoteTo celebrate my 17th year in business, I've been answering questions from regular readers about my experience and success over the years...

Clint asked: "What is your idea of success, is it just money or is it much more at this point now that you have the money?"

Another great question... "What IS Success?" Clint is specifically asking me, "How Would YOU Define Success?" I have a short answer for you on that, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic as well!

In my last post, where I answered What Motivates You?, I mentioned varying levels of success. Or maybe definitions of success, rather than levels. Going from below the poverty level to a six figure income is certainly one way to define success!

That said, I wasn't necessarily happy at that point in my life.

Sure, during the thick of it, things were awesome. Getting my first business off the ground, starting a second and partnering in a third, and of course the complete lifestyle change - I was on top of my game and enjoying every minute of it!

It wasn't just about business of course. My whole family was involved and working together, which was fun. The kids had a go-cart, we had a pool table, we could afford to do things we hadn't been able to do before. Life was going in a great direction!

Unfortunately that phase was short-lived.

I was working toward my idea of success, but as I've mentioned that didn't quite pan out. And what WAS my idea of success? At that time it was all about the ideal lifestyle for my (at the time, big) family. I had this vision of us all smiling, enjoying life, having it easier, being happier...

What Is Success

Obviously it takes money to fund "a better life for your family" or other dreams you may have. Just like it did for me. So sure, there are financial goals. But the money itself doesn't define success for me personally.

The money was always just a means to an end.

In my post on Self Motivation, I mentioned the things that drive me - the forces that have kept me going for 17+ years now. Fear was one of those things I mentioned: not going hungry, creating a sense of safety and security, etc.

Obviously those things do require money.

But I can also tell you this: The year I made the most money ever, was my worst year ever. Not financially obviously, but personally. And that was the moment I realized that "success" (as most people define it: with dollar signs) meant NOTHING.

In fact, I wrote this post almost 7 years ago: Does Money Buy Happiness?

(Great topic! I just updated that post this week.)

So what is success?

To me, it's happiness. It's "quality of life" - period. And that's a quest I'm still on, and imagine I always will be as my life continues to evolve and change. I've talked about this process (and my experience) over the years too, like in this series:

Have You Found Your Happy Place Yet?

Both of those posts are a great read, and they'll give you some some insight into how I define success. And yes, it's going to be different depending on where you are in your life and what your circumstances are specifically. But even when I was broke and struggling to figure out ways to keep food on the table... my daydreams were about having a happy life with less stress and more fun.

"Happy" looks different to everyone.

I encourage you to figure out YOUR happy!

I don't necessarily get a "happy" feeling about money itself. I make a good living mind you, but don't have any desire for material wealth - or even the impression it gives. I prefer my conservative lifestyle, my privacy, my quiet freedom, and to spend my money traveling to neat places to see neat people - or just doing things I want to do.

There is one other factor to success though, in my book at least. And that's leaving your mark on the world. Leaving this place with some sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Figuring out what you were meant to do, and getting it done. I know what mine is, and I won't consider myself a true "success" until it's complete.

That reminds me of one of the last things my Grandmother said to me before she passed. I was sitting on her bed holding her hand and she said to me with a smile:

"I'm not sad and I'm not scared. I'm ready to leave this world. I did everything I wanted to do."

I hope to be able to say the same...

We all view the concept of "success" differently, of course. And that's perfectly fine! What about you: How would you define success?

I'd also love to hear what you struggle with most when it comes to reaching YOUR version of success? We all have our roadblocks and frustrations, strengths & weaknesses even. What do you feel holds you back most??


~ Yes, I'm using the beautiful quote graphics again! How's that for setting a great usability example? 😉

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»


  1. Clint Anderson says


    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Success and Motivation.. You know how I know I am in the right place? The smile that is on my face after I read your posts... Thanks again for your awesomeness!!!


  2. Spencer McDonald says

    Success seems one of those elusive things for many, me included. Thinking of success I think of fear, dreams I can see, and mental jail that keeps me locked away without bars. Sounds depressing. I do not mean to be depressing.

    Success in my mind does not mean millions, mansions, or super riches. No. Success is defined as being able to live right, lead right, and leave a legacy. All these I struggle with daily. All of these I think about daily and work on daily. What I think keeps me away is the fear of failing as well as the fear of succeeding. It is quite a dicotomy.

    Coming to your blog and reading good posts such as this are always motivational and inspirational for me. It is good for my soul. It is good to read, internalize, and decide to put to use. Thank you and I will be on the rebound to your site soon.

  3. Linda Todd says

    I have enjoyed some ups and downs as well in my years. The year I made the most money...not quite 6 figures but not that far away....I made the worst mistakes of my life.... Money is not success, and success isn't money. My thoughts go to "if you can overcome the roadblocks in life and in the end feel a soul satisfaction; you have success." If you can lie down at night and have caused another soul no grief, sorrow or pain...you have been successful. If you have the respect of others in your life....you have been successful.

    If success were money, then why do the lottery winner usually wind up broke? Why is there so much divorce, drugs, and pain in Hollywood? Money $$$$ sometimes brings only ruin to a person. That person must appreciate the values of life more than the money they have made. Usually if a person has not earned the money; the value is not there!!!! I believe we value what we have worked hard to accumulate and at the end of the day, give thanks to the one who helped us make wise decisions.

  4. Success as well as happiness are subjective. There are no definitive answers for either, but there is a directive. It's called 'living the dream.' Hope this helps.

  5. Success is failure turned inside out. Most people have fear inside to step out of there comfort zone and try something new that's why they do not succeed. Definition of
    Fear>. False Evidence Appearing Real.. Most of all give thanks to God for your
    abilities and talents to be who he made you to be, SUCCESSFUL..

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