Last week I attended a networking conference from Mizbiz on entrepreneurship. The last speaker was Jamie Anderson, a former professor at London Business School and recognized as one of the world’s top 25 management thinkers by the journal Business Strategy Review. I was quite curious to hear his insights on the challenges to grow a business.
To my surprise, he had a very different take on the subject. Instead of providing us with theories, he shared with us his personal story, leaving one question open…what is success really?
Driving back home, the question remained in my mind. How do I define success?
I decided to look up ‘success’. According to the Oxford dictionary, success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, the attainment of fame, wealth, or social status.
In the nineties, this definition stood firm. You were seen as being successful when you were well up the corporate ladder, had a broad span of control and a lot of money. However, somehow, over the past years, this definition seems to have changed.
A lot of people experience an undercurrent of confusion and unease. Society and business is changing at the speed of light and burnouts/bore outs are the order of the day. Consequently, the relative sense of success changed. We are challenged to find new ways to define ourselves, our purpose and our joy.
Success has become a very personal thing. That doesn’t make it easier as it involves defining what is really important to you, what matters to you most and what makes you happy. It might very well be the fast track in corporate life but it can also be the decision to go travel the world and finance it through Instagram pictures.
Success has become a choice, a choice to open certain doors but close others at the same time. For Jamie, success meant that he left his academic career behind, became a key note speaker and pursued his childhood dream of cycling.
For me, I’m still searching for the right answer. Don’t worry, it won’t involve such a drastic decision, I genuinely still love what I do every day. Nevertheless, I promised myself to keep in mind the sentence that struck me most: shoot for the moon but make sure that the moon you are shooting for is your own.
And you … how do you define success?
For the ones who are looking for inspiration, you can see Jamie’s story in a TEDx video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmc6HohWVCs). And for the ladies, check out Mizbiz (www.mizbiz.be) as it is a network for female professionals from different industries.
I look forward to hearing from you,
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