How to Redefine Success Your Way

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When our family was young, I felt like success was defined as “picture perfect.” Nice, well-behaved children, a clean house, a husband who not only helps out but can read my mind. Has anyone else fallen for the same trap?

Success isn’t about working to make everyone around you act a certain way. If we spend our time working on things we can’t control, life will become very disappointing. There is no way to realize true success when elements outside of your control define it.

Success Defined

Success lies in what you can control. It’s not in things, other people, or places you get to visit. All of that is nice, but it does not define you or what you’ve accomplished. Success is about becoming the best version of our self, and yes, only you can control that one.

Success is showing up in life prepared to be focused and reminding ourselves we are doing to best we can.

Want to know something even more powerful? Success is also what you say it isn’t. How cool is that?

What Keeps Us From Succeeding

How many times a day do you tell yourself something is too hard?

Losing weight is hard, being a good parent is hard, putting your spouses’ needs above your own is hard, facing your fears is hard…

The list goes on and on.

When things get hard, it’s safer to stop trying because it’s easier not to try than to fail after giving it your all.

Think about it — who wants to fail after they’ve legitimately tried as hard as they could? No one!

Unfortunately, trying hard doesn’t guarantee success.

For a while, I’ve been kicking and screaming about going through a major website revamp. When I first started blogging, I had no idea what I was doing. I had jerry-rigged my “free” version with band-aids and code to try to get it to get the look and feel I was after. The more I realized I need to make changes the more I dreaded what I needed to do.

I had every reason under the sun…

It’s too much money.

It’s too hard.

It takes too much time.

No one really cares about what I have to say.

But really, all I had were excuses because I was afraid. Afraid to spend money on something with no guarantee of success. It was just easier to hide. If I failed, I could say I didn’t try as hard as I could.

You may not have a blog, but I’m sure there is something in your life where you can relate. We want a particular result but hem and haw about how hard it will be, it’s more of a pain than it’s worth, it won’t be easy.

You know what?

It’s not supposed to be easy! And here’s the crazier part, you don’t want it to be easy!

The best kind of success comes from perseverance.

How I Choose to Look at Success

Last year my word was Joy. I spent the year looking for ways to “be joy” in my life. I learned so much about myself and the things I want to accomplish. Last years journey led to this years word — SUCCESS.

I chose this word to focus on, not because I was looking for fame and fortune, but because I needed to learn how to redefine success to find greater joy.

I’ve decided success is staying focused and not chasing after shiny objects.

It means demonstrating self-love and self-care and remembering how grateful I am for my body and my ability to take care of me.

Success is being the best version of me. It’s in the way I treat others and how I love those around me. I’m open and available to listen and be there when someone needs me.

Success is being who I WANT to be. Authentic to who I am — a daughter of God — authentic to my divine potential.

3 Tips to Redefine Success Your Way

To help with your definition of success, I’ve come up with three tips to remember as you work towards your goals this year.

1 | What is 100% in your control?

Let’s begin with what you value. What would success look like for you? Now examine what you can control in reaching that goal.

For example: Maybe you want to be a better parent.

How would your life look?

What would make you better? Try not to focus on how you want your family to be. Look deep inside for things you can change about yourself. Remember, only focus on what is 100% in your control — and then stick with it. By the Way, being a successful parent means you recognize your kids are human and love them anyway.

2 | Supervise your Brain

How often does your unsupervised brain allow fears to go running through your minds on a daily basis? How many of those fears are unfounded?

Let me ask you something —

How often do you catch yourself worried about something in which you had absolutely NO control?

Chances are your fears are unfounded, and you’re using them as a get out of jail free card. They are your excuse to keep on playing small and safe.

Instead of allowing your unsupervised brain to get the best of you — defining what success should look like — try picturing what you’re going to be. How are you going to show up and handle real life?

It’s a powerful exercise to train your brain to look forward to what you are trying to achieve.

3 | Accept What it Means to be Human

You know nothing is “perfect,” right? The truth is, there’s always something you can do to improve things. Most of us want to produce A+ work when really a B- would be good enough. Always striving for the ever elusive perfection can mean we don’t don’t show up at all.

Success also means allowing myself to be human. It’s not an excuse for when I make a mistake, but it permits me to own my actions and then be able to move on. Try to notice the good in every moment. Choose to be compassionate with yourself. Remember, you’re human and learning as you go.


It’s never too late to be what you might have been. — George Eliot

If I didn’t believe this, I’d still be trying to figure out what to do with my life. Your past is your past, and your future is still waiting for you to make it. Too often we allow our history to determine what we think we can or cannot do.

I’m reminded of when my grandson learned to walk. He didn’t let all the times he fell and bumped his head keep him from trying. He kept focused on what he wanted to do and made it happen. Persistence, determination, and vision are a great recipe for success.

Choose what you define as successful and be intentional about it. Don’t let other people or your unconscious, unsupervised brain determine it for you.

Real life is not like a perfect model home; it’s full of choices and trials and mistakes and emotions. It’s a fantastic experience. Let’s redefine success as things within our control and keep redefining it if we need to.

Originally published at

Author of Creating Positive Habits and Practicing Progress, Lori writes about choices inspiring greater joy and happiness.

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