The thing is, success is totally subjective. If you’re feeling a little down about where you are or asking what it means to be successful ask yourself these questions.
Are you happy?
Do you enjoy the work you do? Or at least most of it? Are you able to find time to hang out with your friends and family or pursue your other interests? If you’re happy, you’re already successful. Liking your job, appreciating your time off, and feeling an overall sense of contentment are huge wins.
Can you pay your bills?
Or at least put a decent meal on the table? This may seem like a low bar, but being a responsible adult who is not only able to pay their bills, but who can afford groceries every week is not nothing. Bonus points if you’re banking a few bucks in your savings account every month. Being able to afford shelter, food, and—hopefully—a little fun is the reason most of us have jobs in the first place. If you can check all three of those boxes, you’re in good shape.
How do you define success?
Ditch the idea of what you think success should look like, and ask yourself what it looks like for you. Do you want to make your own schedule? Help others? Be the go-to person on your team? There’s no wrong answer.
There’s so much more to being successful than what an impressive job title or big paycheck indicates. If you’re dying to land a director-level job, ask yourself why. If you define success by your salary, ask yourself why you want to make that much. Are you hoping to retire early? Travel the world? Support your family? Whatever your answer is, remember that the definition of success goes far beyond an important title or a six-figure paycheck.
What can you do now that you couldn't have done a year ago?
In other words, what have you learned? Think about all the things you didn’t have any experience with or weren’t very efficient at when you first started your current job. I bet you’ve accumulated a wealth of knowledge and skills since then.
Dedicating time and energy to getting really good at your job is something to be proud of–regardless of how big or small the task. Write them down. Be proud of them.
What are you most proud of?
Write down everything you’ve accomplished throughout your educational and professional career. And include your personal life, too, while you’re at it. This could be anything–the semester you earned a 4.0 GPA, that time you pulled off a last-minute presentation, or the day you finally stuck a solid handstand in yoga class.