How to Define Success on Your Terms

What does success mean to you? What should it mean? How can coaching play a role in helping you reach your next great horizon? Find the answers to these questions and more in this article.

By Sainath Nagarajan

September 8, 2022

$1,000,000. What you might have earned for starring in one episode of Friends. Or, what the 50 BTC you bought for $1 in 2011 might be worth in 2022.

While you cannot rewrite history (imagine if you had bought a dinner’s worth of BTC!), you certainly can shift the arc of your destiny toward more favorable outcomes.

Early to mid-career professionals tend to get blinded by the stage lights of their current jobs or companies. You put in the long hours, check off all the boxes that you believe need to be checked off in order to get promoted or admitted to your dream MBA program, and network like a pro. Yet, it may seem like the race you are running is crowded, confusing, and sometimes unfair.

A common response is to do ‘more of the same’–longer hours, more test prep, more networking, etc...–hoping to break out from the crowd and get to the next horizon of growth. And yet, I have seen many people silently burn out right before that next big move, putting their careers, relationships, and health at risk.

Success may not always mean getting that $1,000,000 in incremental earnings over X period of time. Your definition of success could and should be as unique as you are. The key question is, when is the last time that you carefully and systematically defined what success really means to you?

The reality is that many early/mid-career professionals who approach key inflection points in their lives simply miss out on the next horizon of opportunities because of how much they focus on the current horizon. When you are driving fast, you often forget that there are blindspots and those can crystallize to a point where they define or derail progress.

Working with a coach can help you develop candid and constructive perspectives through targeted inquiry and reflection. A good coach can help you look past formulaic definitions of success, work through blindspots, and define your own, unique next horizon.

I believe that coaches can bring a truly diverse worldview–informed by both their experience and relentless curiosity–that can positively help shape the arc of your destiny. While there are many different kinds of credentials in the coaching industry, I would encourage you to look for someone who can bring a truly consultative approach, working with you toward crystallizing your purpose, vision, and strategies.

Whether it is getting into your dream MBA program or finding your unique consulting career edge, give yourself the benefit of coaching. Your next horizon could be closer than it seems.