Who is more successful: a billionaire like Jeff Bezos or a missionary like Mother Teresa?
Most people would lean toward Amazon’s founder. This is because the media constantly influences people to believe that three things determine the definition of success:
Yet, with this understanding of how to be successful, you’ll never find the key to success.
This is because a person’s occupation or net worth doesn’t define their success. The actual definition of success is having a positive impact on people.
Success isn’t how much money you accumulate for yourself, but it could be how much money flows through you that you use to bless people and the planet. Additionally, success is equally important in areas such as relationships, education, parenting, athletics, life mission, and philanthropy.
Real success is creating eternal significance and impact—it’s building a legacy that lives on through others long after you’re gone.
To start cultivating more success, learn:
- What success is
- How to be successful in business and life
- And the top ways to start achieving sustainable, long-term success today
How Do You Define Success?
“Success isn’t something that just happens—success is learned, success is practiced, and then it is shared.”SPARKY ANDERSON
According to the dictionary, success is: “The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted” and “the gaining of fame or prosperity.” Success also means aligning your words, thoughts, and actions in a manner that achieves the vision you have for your life. For this reason, there is not a one size fits all definition of success because success is dependent on your definition of it. When a person is successful, they tap into their unique gifts and talents to accomplish their purpose. Usually, success happens when you create daily habits that allow you to achieve your goals in life.
Top Qualities of Successful People
- Acts as a servant leader who multiplies leaders around them
- Demonstrates a strong work ethic
- Is a lifelong learner who is committed to constantly growing in wisdom
- Starts with WHY and lives a purpose-driven life
- Operates with a growth mindset in which failure doesn’t define them
- Creates daily habits for personal growth
- Remains humble despite their wealth, fame, power, or influence
- Strives for excellence every day
- Uses their natural gifts and strengths to impact the world
- Sets and achieves audacious goals
- Spends time prioritizing, planning, and creating time in their schedule for what matters most
How to Achieve Success
1. Reevaluate Your Definition of Success
How do you define success? When trying to figure out how to be successful, most people look everywhere for answers except the place they should. This might look like attempting to live up to your parents’ idea of success, what the media tells you success looks like, or comparing yourself to others.
While it might be difficult to drop all of the societal pressure, life becomes more fulfilling when you become aware of the answer to this question:
“What is driving me?”
You were born for significance, but that significance is unique to you and you only.
Want to know how to be successful? Dream bigger than a number.
In the Bible, “The Parable of the Talents” tells of a group of people who are given talents (wealth or unique gifts). While two of the people created more talents based on the ones they were given, one dug a hole in the ground and buried his talent. The two who made use of their talents and increased them were rewarded. However, the one who did nothing with his talent was punished.
People who make use of their gifts and continue to grow them become more successful, while those who don’t will struggle throughout life. When you focus on your purpose, serve and love others, and are a good steward of the planet, God allows a flow of wealth to pour through you.
To get clearer on your definition of success, ask yourself:
- “What gifts was I given that no one else has?”
- “What is a cause or problem I feel passionate about solving?”
- “How can I love others more?”
- “What can I do to make Earth a better place?”
- “What limiting beliefs do I have that are preventing me from success?”
2. Build a World-Changing Vision
“He whose life has a why can bear almost any how.”Jordan peterson
Charles Mulli is a prime example of someone who took the cap off of their success by developing not a life-changing vision but a world-changing vision. In 1989, the Kenyan multi-millionaire began aligning himself with his true purpose. Although Mulli experienced tremendous success as a businessman, he felt compelled to sell everything he owned so he could save children who were abandoned on the streets just like he was. His vision was to end childhood homelessness in his country. With his wife Ester, he created Mully Children’s Family, a nonprofit that has rescued, fed, clothed, and taught valuable skills in life such as regenerative farming to over 23,000 Kenyan orphans.
“As a child, I wanted to be important, but where I am now is important for mankind.”CHARLES MULLI
Long-term business success occurs when you understand the big picture. Why is it essential for you to reach the monetary goals you have? If it’s only to serve yourself, your vision is off balance.
To create and fulfill a powerful vision:
- Expand your goals by inviting God to help you visualize your future.
- Reverse engineer the outcome you see.
- Develop a step-by-step plan that takes you to the finish line.
- Align your actions and daily habits with this.
- Make personal growth a constant objective.
- Write thinking time into your schedule so you can become firmer in your identity, purpose, decisions, priorities, and next moves in life.
3. Pour Into Your Team
“The measure of a leader is not the number of people who serve him, but the number of people he serves.”John C. Maxwell
Making success and achievement primarily about yourself is the fastest way to become a failure. For example, are you more focused on meeting key performance metrics (KPIs) or more interested in meeting your employees’ top needs? When you bless, love, and add value to people’s lives, you’re guaranteed to be successful in life.
Look around you. Are those closest to you getting more losses than wins? If so, it’s time to reevaluate how you’re showing up as a leader.
Make it a point to pour into your people. As Jim Collins writes in Built to Last, the world’s greatest companies such as Disney, Marriott, 3M, and Boeing all have one thing in common: their founders care more about those interacting with their businesses than they do about themselves.
To do this:
- Shift your mindset from “what can people do for me?” to “what can I do for others?”
- Focus on transforming people’s lives. How can you get them from point A (dealing with a problem they can’t solve alone) to point B (conquering that problem with your help)?
- Plant seeds of growth all around you—mentor your team on weekly calls, discuss leadership qualities, read leadership books together, model great leadership skills, and support them throughout their professional and personal lives.
- Give back to your community. For example, shoe company TOMS gives away $1 for every $3 they make, offers impact grants to other changemakers, and has donated over 95 million pairs of shoes to children in need.
- Provide plenty of employee recognition, acknowledgment, and praise.
4. Study Successful People
“The three most important ways to lead people are: . . . by example . . . by example . . . by example.”Albert Schweitzer
Just as people are looking at your example, you can also look to others to become more successful as a leader. Start by observing role models who have experienced success in the way you want to. How do they carry themselves? What do they do that others don’t? What is their strategy for goal-setting? Modeling their traits and habits will help you develop the daily actions needed to reach your top objectives.
To observe those who are successful:
- Read biographies like Steve Jobs (written by Walter Issacson), Lean In (Sheryl Sandberg), Delivering Happiness (Tony Hsieh), Grinding It Out (Ray Kroc), and Onward (Howard Schultz). Tools of Titans is also a great resource for uncovering what successful people do that sets them apart.
- Follow the YouTube channels of leaders like Tim Ferriss, Simon Sinek, and Jay Shetty. Brené Brown’s video archive is a great resource, too.
- Check out the top business podcasts recommended by Leaders.com.
- Work with a mentor you admire and respect each week. Hands-on, kinesthetic learning is one of the best ways to become more successful.
5. Think Differently
As best described in Apple’s Think Different campaign, “[P]eople who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” There’s a reason these words still resonate with changemakers. To be extraordinarily successful, you can’t think like everyone else. You must avoid social conformity and blaze a new trail through innovative thinking, strong core values, and a firm grasp on your identity.
Elon Musk is an excellent example of a leader who has become successful because he thinks differently. He uses first principles thinking to boil things down to their fundamental truths. Then, he problem-solves from there. Because of this mindset, he’s helped cut the cost of launching rockets into space by 75 percent, saving NASA over $500 million.
To think similarly:
- Focus on getting to the root of problems.
- Keep your big picture vision in mind.
- Don’t get distracted by irrelevant details, criticism, or feedback.
- Avoid giving time to inconveniences and everyday problems that derail you from accomplishing your goals. This might look like constantly checking emails or participating in pointless meetings.
- Stop playing task-master and working to check off to-do lists. Visionaries stay dialed in on what they want to accomplish and strategize on how to get there.
- Clear time on your schedule to think.
6. Focus on Long-Term Growth
“Maturity is achieved when a person postpones immediate pleasures for long-term values.”Rabbi Joshua L. Liebman
Successful people aren’t interested in short-term gains unless they contribute to the big picture. Yet, accomplishing goals that heal the planet and instigate change in the world takes time and energy. That’s why it’s crucial for leaders working toward success to fuel themselves spiritually and mentally. As you take on challenges, you’ll be able to remain energized and effective.
To keep growth at the forefront of your priorities:
- Schedule out your next month of growth. Figure out what books you’ll read, what events you’ll attend, which trainings you’ll do, what videos you’ll watch, and more.
- Spend at least two hours a day increasing your knowledge and thinking big.
- Develop a growth mindset. Train your brain to crave consistent improvement, difficulty, stretching, and progression.
- Set a goal to read five books each month.
- Pray, meditate, and practice mindfulness.
7. Surround Yourself With Positive Influences
As King Solomon said in Proverbs 13:20, “The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm.” In other words, if you want to see success, elevate your surroundings. Notice yourself failing to reach goals? Evaluate who’s around you. Are there people helping you succeed and offering support when you need it? Or do you have a flaky, irresponsible, critical, and low-level social group that actively keeps you down? Remember, the company you keep directly impacts the person you become.
To grow through the positive influence of others:
- Eliminate any negative people from your life who bring you down, stunt your growth, and distract you from your purpose.
- Make a list of people you want in your inner circle. How can you add value to their lives? What can you do to strengthen your relationship with them?
- Don’t invest your time into too many people. Seek to go deep, not wide, in relationships.
- Find mentors who will provide you with wise counsel.
- Join a mastermind group full of other high achievers and entrepreneurs with similar goals and interests.
- Read quotes about success to feel inspired and motivated.
8. Commit to Absolute Excellence
Famed football coach Vince Lombardi put it best: “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” The constant push to be greater every time you play the game is what wins championships. When you commit to giving 110 percent, success becomes a product of your hard work. While you might not reach every goal you ever make, this type of attitude creates fearless, high-performing leaders that head transformational organizations.
To increase your performance:
- Have a great business coach in your corner. The greatest athletes don’t train themselves—they work with the world’s best trainers and coaches to reach their full potential.
- Listen to feedback, be humble, and make necessary changes that lead to improvements.
- Dig deep to understand your purpose and how it connects to the work you’re doing. To have a drive, you need to know what’s driving you.
- Don’t dwell on failure when it occurs. Treat it as a learning opportunity and a chance to do better next time.
Knowing How to Be Successful is Different From Being Successful
There’s no such thing as success in theory. If you don’t apply what you learn about becoming successful, you’ll remain fixed in the same place. The easiest way to do this is to schedule time every week to grow yourself and grow as a person. Treat these appointments as meetings with your future self—the one living the version of success you hope to achieve soon.
Need more team members who will help drive success in your company? Find A-players with these job interview questions in this next article: