How to Define Success Regarding your Career Direction

Edited by Lor777, Eng, VisiHow, VC


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Everyone has his or her own definition of success. You will not get to where you want to go with someone else's dream-you must create your own. For many people, success is defined as carving out their own niche-finding something they want to do and doing it well. Your idea of success may be to reach a feeling of personal fulfillment, or it may be to reach a certain financial status. As you attempt to define your own success, think about what is important to you, not to those around you. Do not limit yourself to traditional ideas of success, such as a top position in a large corporation, but broaden your idea to something you can really feel in your gut! When you feel the drive for something that strongly, you must want it badly enough to really go after it.

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Over the years, there have been changing perspectives on success. Talk to some successful people, and ask what their definition of success was when they first started their careers. They might say something like:

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  • "I'd like to be earning $100,000 a year by the time I am 30 years old."
  • "I'd prefer to be my own boss."
  • "I want to own a vacation home on one of the islands."
  • "I want to own a new sports car."
  • "I'd like to get my book published."

Then ask if that definition of success has changed over the years. In almost all cases, the answer will be yes. People who are well established in their careers will probably give some very different definitions to success, like:

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  • "I'd like to balance my time between job, family, and friends."
  • "I'd like to be challenged in my work."
  • "I'd enjoy helping someone else reach one of his or her personal goals."
  • "I want to be the best employee in my department."
  • "I'd like to be debt-free."


Your changing values affect your attitudes about success. Both your age and the society may be focused on approval from others and independence demonstrated by owning material things. As you grow older and gain more experience, your symbols of success may change as your value system changes. You may experience a shift away from needing outside sources of approval toward wanting inner satisfaction. For example, some of the new symbols of success are having more control over one's time, viewing work as fun, receiving affection and understanding from other people, involvement with community work, and teaching or helping others.

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As you progress through your career, changes in your personal life and in the world around you will have an impact on your goals. An emphasis on human resources will cause employers to develop new approaches to rewarding performance in the workplace. The traditional meaning of the words reward, recognition, and compensation will change to meet the new values of the work as time goes on. The values of tomorrow's workers--including you--are changing the workforce as we've known it in the past. For those reasons, successful lifelong career planning involves periodic review of your definition of success and your strategies for achieving it.

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As you plan your career today, decide what your definition of success is right now, and base your immediate decisions on that. If success to you right now is being hired by one of the leading employers in your field, focus on achieving that. Just understand that by looking ahead and at least thinking about the lifestyle you may want in the future, your present decisions may take a different focus.

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How to Understand the Qualities of Success

  1. 1
    Have clear goals
    Successful people share many common characteristics. By having goals, they take each one of their small successes and use them to build bigger successes in the future. Successful people make the most of their intelligence. They have and use common sense. They are willing to explore new avenues of information. Some of the most interesting individuals are those who read extensively, listen well, and absorb all the facts they can from the world around them.
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  2. 2
    Have a positive attitude
    Successful people are usually positive, a trait which attracts people to them. They have ways of preventing disappointments and setbacks from becoming obstacles. Along with a positive attitude comes the ability to trust and believe in yourself and others.
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  3. 3
    Don't be afraid to take risks
    Successful people are good risk takes and are willing to accept failure as part of the course. They think you fail only when you are not able to cash in on the experience you have.
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  4. 4
    Have enthusiasm
    Successful attitudes are built on enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the demonstration of a strong interest in something. It comes from within and has a strong effect on other people. Enthusiasm lends credibility to what you do and results in your own satisfaction. Enthusiasm builds characteristics around an idea and is a great basis for creativity. A fantastic idea that is presented with little enthusiasm can be rejected in favor of another idea that is delivered more enthusiastically.
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  5. 5
    Have motivation
    Successful people are usually highly motivated. Motivation is an inner drive that makes you do things. Motivation makes you more productive and allows you to work well on your own without supervision. If you are motivated, you have a healthy interest in yourself. Motivation goes hand in hand with a love for what you do.
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Tips Tricks & Warnings

  • Will your career provide you what level of financial stability you are looking for?
  • Will promotion eventually require a higher level of education?
  • Will it enable you to satisfactorily maintain your family relationships?
  • Will your career choice allow you to have the overall lifestyle you want?

Questions and Answers

How would you define success for your career? What must have been present for you to feel as if you had a successful career?

How would you define success for your career? What must have been present for you to feel as if you had a successful career?

As the article suggests, success for one's carrier vary from one person to another, becoming a minor main goal ("a minor main goal" means that people have priorities in set goals for their careers) in life that changes over time as values and reality affect his or her life. Psychologists state that we set a number of minor goals in our life, which are always ahead of us. By achieving these goals one by one, we feel accomplishments.

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To demonstrate that, let us say that some individuals intend to earn $2400 or annually; and, as they achieve that, they wish to have at least one fortnight-long vacation annually. They feel that they succeed, but the feeling is challenged with another minor main goal. That also shows that success can be society-dependent. While $2400 can be a standard sum in one part of the world, the other part of the world is used to comfort and may feel successful only after $100,000 a year, even when the prices for living are the same in both areas. The other example is shown in the article when the minor main goal shifts to another goal, completely changed.

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Therefore, success for one's carrier is achieving goals one by one. To feel as if one's had a successful career, the majority of the aims throughout his or her carrier must have been achieved.

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Article Info

Categories : Job & Work Ethics

Recent edits by: VisiHow, Eng, Lor777

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