What Does Success Mean?

Success: What executives want out of life is changing.


Which of these definitions of success resonates most with you?

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” Author Maya Angelo

“Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill

“Success in life could be defined as the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals.” Deepak Chopra

“The more you’re actively and practically engaged, the more successful you will feel.” Richard Branson

“Success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.” Inventor Thomas Edison


Well, in a survey on success based on 160 senior executives, 8 distinct categories emerged. Acquiring wealth was the 2nd most popular indicator of success.

  1. Family
  2. Wealth
  3. Work/ Career
  4. Recognition/ Fame
  5. Power
  6. Winning/ Overcoming challenges
  7. Friendships
  8. Meaning


But in another survey of the 2,011 people aged 18+, 90% believed that success is more about happiness than power, possessions, or prestige.

In total, 67% associated success with achieving personal goals; 66% defined success as having “…good relationships with friends and family…”; and 60% said, “It’s about loving what you do for a living.”

Only 1 in 5 respondents cited monetary wealth.


What does success mean to you?

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I have learnt to recognise opportunities to step beyond my comfort zone in the pursuit of things that bring me true fulfilment – it was a small tweak that has ended up making a significant difference. We now speak on a regular basis and Simon has become the voice which says “you can do this”.

Keith Banwaitt