Defining Success – Does It Have To Be The C-Suite?

So many people think success is they’ve made it to the C-suite.

The C-suite is not the only success that is out there in your career in business, so I want to talk about that in this episode.

What might be a better definition of success? How about this (not mine, but well worth sharing) – “Put your heart, your mind, your intellect, and your soul, even into every small act.”

That is a secret of success. Anything that you do in life, give it 110 percent.

My idea of success has changed a lot over 55+ years. Success depends upon the season you’re in. Your 20’s are different than your 30’s, and different than your 40’s, and different than your 50’s. Every season has been different for me (and will be for you), so success looked different in every season (and will be for you).

I enjoyed my career more, I think, because I wasn’t always shooting for being number one.

Being number one is not for the weak. It’s a tough place to be. I still had success because I had a different impact, and influence, and most importantly, I enjoyed and seized the moments in my life outside of the corporate four walls.

I’ve listened to Will Ferrell’s 2017 commencement speech to USC several times.

USC is where he attended. He talks about his success, of course, with all humor involved. He talks more about his 16-year marriage, his boys, his charity. He talks very passionately about the USC family, but he really talks about his journey getting there.

He doesn’t start out by saying, “I was on Saturday Night Live.” He doesn’t talk about, “I’ve made all these movies.” He’s just happy with other things besides being the number one, and all the different things that come along with that.

We can’t all be in the C-suite.

Many of us, first of all, are not meant to be there; we’re not leaders. The good news is you can enjoy success outside of the C-suite.

By the way, top leaders need followers. We can learn from them, and probably we have similar characteristics.

How do we learn from those in the C-suite?

Ask yourself “What does a C-suite person do? What is their success?”

They prioritize. Because when you are number one, you cannot do everything. We can do that (prioritize) in any situation. They get to the point. They drill it down. They make a decision. They go forward. They probably ask a lot more questions. They get a lot of good advice from all around them.

Decisions have impact, so those in the C-suite have to make good ones, because there’s a lot of people relying on them. Trust is at the core of everything with a successful C-suite person. If you don’t have that team and support, you can’t do it.

We all have different career goals to achieve success. There’s nothing right or wrong, and success is measured differently by all of us.

Unfortunately, we tend to obsess over our goals and our career. Most of us do. All the career goals and the success you have, whether you’re in the C-suite, or you’re just going to occur in your own world. All of those goals are valid. So, no matter where you are, focus on yours, and stick to yours, and not to others.

Here are some definitions of success that you should not ignore.

  • Success is always doing your best.
  • Success is learning that you sometimes have to say no and really being careful when you say yes.
  • Success is learning.
  • Success is understanding you cannot keep what you don’t give away.
  • Success is overcoming fear.
  • Success is being loved and loving back.
  • Success is standing your ground when you believe in something.
  • Success is not giving up.
  • Success is never letting a disability hold you back and understand that you control your destiny.
  • Success goes way beyond the C-suite.

Ultimately, you define success, and you enjoy it. Have a good journey, and don’t be consumed in the destination, especially to the C-suite.

This is THE podcast that advances women toward economic, social and political achievement. Hosted by Betty Collins, CPA, and Director at Brady Ware and Company. Betty also serves as the Committee Chair for Empowering Women, and Director of the Brady Ware Women Initiative. Each episode is presented by Brady Ware and Company, committed to empowering women to go their distance in the workplace and at home.

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