Image for Manisha Dorawala's blog post about creating your own definition of success.

While there are often universal measures of success, such as whether or not you have a well-paying job, how well your personal relationships go, or if you can pay off your debts, each of us also has a personal definition of success. Most of your decisions and actions are likely influenced by the people around you and what they view as success, but some people also follow their own, unique codes of success. It’s important to not let the people around you pull you away from what you truly believe success is and what makes you feel the most fulfilled. Learn to create your own definition of success and focus on working toward that goal, instead of letting others decide what’s best for you.

Find a sense of purpose

Before completely re-evaluating your job and the decisions you’ve made, examine whether or not what you’re currently doing fulfills your sense of purpose. Maybe you’re already working your dream job and doing something that leaves you completely satisfied. There are lots of people who feel this way, and if you’re one of them, that’s great! But if what you’re doing now makes you feel unhappy and like your potential is wasted, begin thinking about what you’ve done in the past (or have always wanted to do) that makes you feel a deep sense of purpose.

Discover what makes you happy

If you realize that what you’re doing now isn’t making you happy or giving you purpose, focus more on what does. Make a list of what you’ve always wanted to do and goals you have, even if you haven’t worked on those goals in years. Oftentimes, we make goals when we’re young and have dreams of what we’d like to do once we’re older, but we settle into a routine and stop working toward what we once wanted to do. If you still want to pursue those dreams you had, find ways to work toward them. Begin listing actions you can take to work toward your goals and achieve success. Give careful consideration to this part, because what you discover now will influence your definition of success and what you’re ultimately working toward.

Accomplish something with this purpose

Once you’ve identified the hobby, job, or goal that gives you a sense of purpose, it’s time to actually work toward it. Take concrete steps to reach this purpose and that will be the way you define success. Maybe you want to travel the world or move to another country or quit your job and start over again and you believe that once you do those things, you’ll have achieved a level of success. The people around you may be telling you this idea isn’t feasible and you need to achieve success in some other way or that you shouldn’t change your current situation at all. As long as you take the time to carefully consider what you define as success and find a way to actually accomplish something with that, you’ll have your own definition of success, which will ultimately make you much happier.