How do you define success?

Most people agree that success is a journey, not a destination. However, when we don’t know where we’re headed, the journey becomes tedious and life becomes a boring task rather than the exciting adventure that it is meant to be. It is therefore important that we determine our direction early on so that we don’t gain speed in the wrong direction.

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Recently, while learning from Jonathan Milligan of, I was further reminded of the need to live true to my own definition of success, founded on my personal values, rather than trying to catch up with society’s expectations. As I thought about this, I came up with five words that paint a picture of what success means to me: Relationship, Growth, Abundance, Impact and Legacy. I found that I could rearrange these words to form an acrostic – GRAIL –  for easier reference. Here’s what these words mean to me:


I maximise my potentials. I am relentlessly committed to all-round personal development and spiritual growth. I am getting better and better every day and in every way.


I cultivate and nurture healthy relationships with God, my family, mentors, supervisors, colleagues, friends, proteges and others within my various spheres of influence. I develop and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with my tribe (people with whom I share the same values and interests) as we inspire one another to fulfil our dreams and live a life of significance.


I have more than enough resources (spiritual, intellectual, physical and financial) plus the time and flexibility to fulfil my purpose and help others do the same.


I am a positive influence, standing for justice and truth, helping people overcome their challenges and giving them a new lease of life. I am making the world around me better than I met it.


I outlive my life, leaving an inheritance of a good name, enterprises and organisations, wealth and prosperity. I am a positive reference point for many generations to come.

It is not only important for us to have a mental picture of who we are and who we see ourselves becoming, it is also important to be able to paint that picture in words. Apart from being a self-fulfilling prophecy, this “word picture” serves as a compass that guides us through the complex paths of life and shows us where we are on the journey, especially when we need to make crucial decisions. It also helps us to be resilient in the face of challenges, knowing that the prize is worth the fight.

Question: What does success mean to you? Share your word picture with us in the comments.

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