For Impact


What Is Success?

Vision & Entrepreneurial Strategy | | Tom Suddes

This week’s WOW is on SUCCESS


(Almost) everybody WANTS it. (SUCCESS)

(Almost) nobody can DEFINE it! (SUCCESS)

If you can’t DEFINE it…You can’t MEASURE it.

If you can’t DEFINE it and MEASURE it…

How will you ever know if you ACHIEVE it???

I’ve tested this with thousands of people at trainings and workshops and conferences. Ask anyone if they want to be a ‘SUCCESS’ , and (almost) everyone raises their hands.

Everybody wants it, yet few can actually define what it means to them . Fewer yet can measure it .

This week’s CHALLENGE is to actually define what SUCCESS means, both PERSONALLY and FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION. (Try to get it in writing . Tie it to goals . Include a timetable , etc.)

Here is how we are defining SUCCESS with a college advancement team (SALES TEAM).
SUCCESS is tied to our 3 BIG GOALS :

  1. MAXIMIZE RELATIONS… AT THIS GIVEN MOMENT. (Lead Investments, Project-Related Gifts, President’s Circle)

  2. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS… FOR THE FUTURE. (Annual Fund, Reunions, 1842 Society)

  3. FUND THE VISION AND INSTITUTIONAL PRIORITIES. (4 Big Projects, 3 Huge Priorities, etc.)

We will measure FINANCIAL SUCCESS by achieving specific goals within our FUNDING PLAN (based on our’ Green, Purple, Gold’ Holistic Model).

While I won’t attempt to help you define your PERSONAL SUCCESS, I can share some thoughts on SUCCESS from some really smart people.

In 1936, Napoleon Hill wrote THINK & GROW RICH , which has become one of the all time classics in the personal development field. He also wrote THE LAWS OF SUCCESS . Mine is 3″ thick with a bright red cover. Hill’s copyright is 1937. My first reading (inscribed inside the cover) was 40 years after than on the 25th of May, 1977.

Here’s Napoleon Hill’s definition of success:
“SUCCESS is the attainment of your DEFINITE CHIEF AIM without violating the rights of other people.”

Obviously, in order to achieve Hill’s SUCCESS , you’d need to know exactly what your DCA is!

Earl Nightingale, the actual father/founder of the personal development industry, wrote the all time classic motivational and inspirational book entitled THE STRANGEST SECRET. Recorded in 1956 for a small group of salespeople, THE STRANGEST SECRET went on to become one of the all time best selling records. It is also captured in 19 small pages. (THE STRANGEST SECRET is really not that strange and it’s not a secret: YOU ARE WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT. That’s the whole message.)

Earl lays it out like this:

“SUCCESS is the progressive realization of a WORTHY IDEAL.”

Again, it would be hard to meet Earl’s definition if you weren’t sure what your ‘WORTHY IDEAL ‘ was!

Here is my own definition of SUCCESS. At my age and stage in life, it works great. It also comes straight from an iconic legend from my youth, Bob Dylan.


[Sometimes, just “waking up every morning” is a good way to define success. 🙂 ]

Special Note: In all my readings, the philosophers and Big Thinkers never tie SUCCESS to MONEY. I found that very interesting, since most people in their younger years relate SUCCESS to how much MONEY they have… or how much MONEY somebody makes.

Along those lines, here are 3 quotes to think about from 3 pretty well-known people.

“Try not to be a SUCCESS, but rather to be of VALUE.”

Albert Einstein

“Many people have come to a point their life when they want to move from SUCCESS to SIGNIFICANCE.”

Peter Drucker

“Our focus should be on FULFILLMENT, not SUCCESS.”

Viktor Frankl

Even Maslov, in his eponymous pyramid, says our highest need is SELF ACTUALIZATION.

We wish you SUCCESS … however you define it or measure it .