What does success really mean?

There have been a couple of instances recently which have really made me contemplate the word and concept of success. Firstly an old friend from school wormed their way out of Facebook to say hello and ask how I was doing and what my life looked like now –so I told him. I’m 32, I have a house in Cambridgeshire, I work in London and a bit about my job, married with a cat and a baby on the way. He then said ‘wow you must be one of the most successful people from our year at school’ and I almost choked on my tea. It seemed ludicrous!

Then a few weeks after that I was speaking at a conference for work and the woman introducing me said how lucky they were I was speaking because I had the heady title of ‘Director’ …it made me feel so strange (Yes, my job title is associate director but I promise you it is not anywhere near as senior or as lofty as it sounds) and the feeling only got even worse by the number of questions I had afterwards weren’t as much about the speech I had given but about my success and my age.. “you’re so young to be so senior and knowledgeable”… “you really know your stuff considering you’ve only worked in this realm for 9 years”… what do you say to that?!

It got me thinking about whether or not I truly defined myself as successful, but what really is success?

According to the wonder that is the internet…


the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

“the president had some success in restoring confidence”

synonyms: favourable outcome, successfulness, favourable result, successful outcome, positive result, victory, triumph“we are very encouraged by the success of the scheme”

However when you type the word into google and look at images there is a plethora of motivational images and it also suggests follow up words…hard work, happiness, money, love, confidence, perseverance, patience, truth, business, education… and many more. Yikes that is a lot of boxes to tick if that is what is defined as personal success.

Then I really started thinking, what about if I don’t believe in some of those words? Does that mean I’m not successful? Absolutely not – for me it is about selecting the right words for you to create your own definition of success. I also think that these words can change, yearly, weekly heck even daily (while I was poorly last week getting up and washing my face to me was a success!).

So what words define success for me right now…health (for me and bump), knowledge (I’m still learning in my new job and learning about pregnancy and being a new mother), Love (this one is always up there, making time for my husband and friends) and home (maybe nesting but in here I also include relaxation and time for self). I feel all of these things combined make me feel damn successful in life!

I’d be so interested in your definition of success and what words you are focusing on that make you feel successful!

2 thoughts on “What does success really mean?

  1. Great blog as I feel lot of us don’t feel like we have been very successful at life but i agree that the definition of success changes the older you get. I was hit by a health set back that meant I had to reaccess what success meant to me. I have now got a career I enjoy which I would of never made the jump from the safety of what I had started out doing. Good Luck with the pregnancy xxx


    1. Exactly that! When I struggled to get pregnant I felt like I had no success even though other areas were fine – it is about your personal circumstances and what your life priorities are – I get fed up that we all have to fit into a certain box!


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