When it comes to business; intangible is often a scary word. We want everything to be scalable or measurable… not intangible, right?

What if I were to tell you that there are certain elements to success that are derived from intangibles? I hope you’d agree to a certain extent.

Wikipedia defines Success as:

  • Attainment of higher social status
  • Achievement of a goal, for example academic success
  • The opposite of failure

Isn’t it interesting that Wikipedia can agree that success cannot be limited to a personal endeavor or a professional outcome? Quite possibly could true success be defined by something a little more intangible than the surface level answers given on the Internet?

I messaged one of my LinkedIn connections last week, asking for feedback on upcoming articles that may be useful to his network of connections – and his answer was quite insightful. I won’t go into detail, but his advice was to write about this very topic – Success.

In the past, I’d always looked at success on the surface level just like Wikipedia – I measured it. I needed to graduate Valedictorian – or I was a failure. I needed to earn six-figures, hit my sales goals, or develop X new clients – or I was a failure. I needed to weigh a certain amount – or I was a failure.

Elements of success can be measured or scaled… but Total Success cannot.

Going back to my engineering days, Total Success is the “X” in the quadratic equation. It’s the missing data point in my spiral curve design (that’s right, I knew I’d use my two classes of Surveying at some point beyond college). It’s the % overrun that we all add into our estimates when putting a bid together. It’s the unknown; but we’re on a quest to find it.

Success is identified differently by each and every one of us. Keep that in mind – don’t try to compare your success to anyone else’s. Comparisons are like an anchor; they weigh you down more than set you free. Carve your own path, your own goals – and quit comparing yourself to others. Comparing yourself (or your success) to someone else’s is a trait identified from your ego; so quit it.

Going even further – how many times have you succeeded at something – yet felt a little empty inside? You worked months, years, decades to reach your goal, but now that you attained it – you wonder if the anticipation, hard work and action were worth it. I mean, succeeding is great and all – but is it worth the hype?

The answer – NO

Not if you’re trying to use surface level techniques to measure Total Success.

Success is defined by each and every one of us differently. My filter on Total Success looks different than yours, because it’s derived from my life experiences (not yours).

Furthermore – Total Success should be looked at from an intangible standpoint using self-awareness skills. It should be derived from your own formula (no one else’s) of:

What makes you tick.

What motivates you.

What satisfies you.

On a weekly basis, I speak with clients who say they feel lost. They don’t know where life is leading them, they aren’t happy, they feel like a failure, and they don’t know where to start picking up the pieces. The amazing thing – most all are people I’d consider to be highly successful in business.

Feelings of failure, which we know from Wikipedia is “the opposite of success”, come from not embracing the deeper self-awareness components of Total Success. I’d be willing to bet that most people are too busy or stressed to even consider, let alone identify and derive those portions of Total Success from the emotional piece of their life’s puzzle.

Unbeknownst to a large majority of us; that’s where Total Success lies – that intangible, emotional piece.  It’s the uncharted and scary waters that brings awareness to your passion, purpose and feeds true success – which is ultimately responsible for those feelings of fulfillment, satisfaction, and overall happiness.

About the Author: Valerie Echter is a Certified Holistic Health and Lifestyle Coach, who specializes in stress reduction and emotional wellbeing.  She is a stress and anxiety expert, having worked through her own issues with severe social anxiety while at the height of her career in the oil industry. 

Valerie takes her 12-year tenure as a nationally-known sales and marketing expert, and has leveraged her business know-how to educate business owners on the fundamentals of strategically implementing Emotional Wellbeing programs and services into the organization’s Safety or Wellness programs.  A passionate advocate for employee development, Valerie supports organizations in reaching business goals directly via coaching, mentoring, and exclusive facilitated workshops focusing on employee productivity, increased employee morale, improved employee mental clarity and focus.

When she’s not working with clients, Valerie can be found on the golf course, reading, playing with her young daughter and cocker spaniel puppy, or enjoying spending time with her husband and extended family.

Want to connect directly with Valerie? Email Valerie@getgoodonline.com to learn more about effective business strategies that focus on improved employee mindset for professional success.