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How To Define Success For Yourself


Guest post from Jamie of From His Presence

Have you ever looked at successful people around you and felt discouraged? Have you ever felt like you can’t measure up?

I used to feel that way all the time. I had such big dreams, and was working so hard to achieve them. However, I was discouraged most of the time.

The opportunities I wanted just weren’t coming. Certain people weren’t responding the way I wanted them to. I couldn’t compare to all the accomplished people around me. My efforts to be successful were not working!

Then one day, I realized I was trying to copy other people’s success instead of running in my own lane. I realized I needed to define what “success” meant for my own life.

So I thought about it a bit and wrote down this definition of success for myself:

“Success for me means to make continual progress toward my destiny in this age and in the age to come.”

When I wrote that sentence, I suddenly felt a level of relaxation that I had not experienced in a long time. Before that day, I had been measuring my level of success by:

  • How I compared to other people who were doing what I wanted to do;
  • How people treated me or responded to me; and
  • The opportunities that did or did not come my way.

However, when I defined success for myself, I realized that I did not need to compare myself to other people in order to live a successful life. I did not need to wait for people to give me the opportunities I wanted in order to feel successful. Instead, with God’s help, I can be successful in the way that He has called me to be.

Do you feel like you’re batting at thin air, trying to measure up to other people’s success? If so, why don’t you take a moment and define success for yourself? Here’s how:

1. Decide what are the most important things to you in life.

It would be horrible to get to the end of life and realize that you were successful at all the wrong things. So determine now what your priorities are. Write them down in order.

2. Make sure your definition of success only depends on things you can control.

You can’t control how people treat you. You can’t force opportunities to come your way. All you can do is what you can do.

However, you can live intentionally. You can control how you treat other people, or how you respond to tough situations. You can control how ready you will be when that longed-for opportunity comes your way.

3. Write down your definition of success.

Put it somewhere you can see it and refer to it often. It will help you remember what’s truly important in your life.

You weren’t made to fill someone else’s skin; you were made to fill your own. By defining what a successful life means to you, you can free yourself from always trying to measure up.

Jamie Rohrbaugh is a wife, financial analyst, Sunday School teacher, musician, and unlikely worship leader from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her passion is to encourage and equip people to live powerful lives and to function in their gifts. She blogs at From His Presence about how to live ordinary life in God’s manifest presence.

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  • Melissa says:

    So good!!!

  • Tara says:

    I loved your definition of Success! I am also trying to teach my children to focus on their goals and dreams instead of constantly comparing themselves to others!

  • Laura says:

    I agree with your points, but the definition I would write for myself would not include the words “continual progress.” When my progress has been halted by something such as an unexpected job loss, health issues, etc., I feel like a failure.

    As a result, I have come to accept that life is not a continual, upward progression. That’s okay. I need to learn, grow and not lose hope in the tough times. And not put more pressure on myself when we are sliding backwards. My future is in the Lord’s hands. I trust Him, even when my progress is not neat, tidy or continual.

  • This post was so encouraging Jamie!

    I especially loved this – “With God’s help, I can be successful in the way that He has called me to be.” I’m constantly reminding myself that my plans aren’t always His plans!

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