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Redefining What Success Means to You


I’m a huge Dragon’s Den fan and was one of a legion of people who rued the day Brett Wilson decided to leave the show.  Of course I had to read his book ”Redefining Success:  still making mistakes” as soon as it came off the press (and pretty much read it all in one go). 

Long story short:  Brett was wildly successful by anyone’s definition…except his own.  It seems he was one of many apparently ”successful” people who discovered that money and stuff  don’t necessarily lead to happiness.  His two wake-up calls were a straight-to-the-heart statement made by his young daughter (“You’re never home”) and a round with cancer (Referring to himself as a ”graduate” rather than a “survivor” really resonated with me).  To his credit, he was smart enough to pay attention rather than to deny or resist…then to engage in the hard work it takes to get unstuck.  Brett now defines success in terms of “time” and the good he can achieve with it rather than fame and fortune. 

My business life is highlighted with Balanced Scorecards, KPI’s and metrics (although I don’t begin to make anywhere near as much money as Brett!), so I decided now was as good a time as any to step back and consider what success and happiness mean to me personally

Brett’s 3 core classes (marketing, entrepreneurship and philanthropy, each topics of interest to me) combined with his  “5″ lists, provoked my thinking.

  • 5 Best and Worst Investments…I translated this to my achievements…or not…in my own world o’ HR and OE
  • 5 People I want to Dine with…Isn’t it interesting how food and drink underline so much of what we do professionally and personally?
  • 5 Best Dragons’ Den Deals…I re-assessed my own pitches to prospective clients this year;  the positive ones seemed to cancel out the clunkers
  • 5 Regrets in life..I’ve had a few but it’s all about the learning, right?!
  • 5 Causes in my future…Without at least one cause in my life, I’d be far less passionate
  • 5 Great Life Moments…Thankfully, I could think of more than 5
  • 5 New Bucket List experiences…There are still lots of things I need and want to do, sooner rather than later
  • 5 Great Websites…Picking 5 was tough for an info junkie like me
  • 5 Most Relevant Songs…I sing while I’m driving, everything from opera to the oldies, but it was easy to zero in on ”relevant” tunes 
  • 5 key bits of Business Advice…like lawyers and accountants, I often get cornered at social events for (free!) career and HR advice…which is one reason I started blogging!  I also have mentors to whom I turn for their biz savvy

Questions like these cut right to the chase and helped me celebrate my highs, learn from my lows and plan for what’s next.  What choices face me?  What decisions will I make?  Most importantly, how do I stay firmly grounded in my values and principles?  Even as an old broad, I’m still a work in progress!     

Working my way through these lists was far more fun…and relevant…than making the same old new year’s resolutions (eat better, exercise more).  I realized that success, to me, is  being courageous enough to take more calculated risks, allow myself to make mistakes, learn as much from the “next times” as the ”did wells”, to have fun building a better mouse-trap.

It’s the perfect time of year to rise to Brett’s challenge and redefine what success means to you.