Defining Success

Marilyn Mackenzie

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Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines success as, “the degree or measure of succeeding; favorable or desired outcome; the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence. Other dictionaries offer similar definitions. Listed first and foremost is the favorable termination of attempts. The mention of wealth or honor, in the dictionary at least, comes second or third among definitions.

So it should be in real life. We should define our own successes as those times when we have attempted something and had favorable outcomes. Even in business, favorable outcomes do not necessarily have to be about wealth, although if we have a positive impact on the community, increased sales and profits should be a result.

In so many businesses today, profits have become the only true measure of success. Many businesses – big and small – treat employees badly and offer little in the way of customer service. When their sales decline, these businesses should not really be surprised.

B. C. Forbes, of Hearst fame, said, "The be-all and end-all of life should not be to get rich, but to enrich the world. "

Henry David Thoreau, author and philosopher, said, "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. "

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. ” That should be a reminder to us all about how to go about succeeding in life and in business. In helping others, we always end up helping ourselves.

The motivational speaker Zig Ziglar says that we're all on our way to success. Why? Because each of us has a portion of the traits necessary to be successful: assertiveness, kindness, a caring spirit, commitment, competency, confidence, consistency, creativity, dependability, energy, etc. Each of us has received a portion of these traits. Developing and increasing them, then, is the key. And using them helps increase them.

Even in Biblical times, people understood the importance of giving. Matthew 7:12NIV: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. ” Following this was a sure means of succeeding.

Enthusiasm, tone of voice, attitude, eye contact and even your smile will open doors that no degree or training can open. Once that door is open, the small measures that we already possess that are traits necessary for success will lead us further on the path.

These quotations and ideas are not new, nor are they complex. One has to wonder if, as technology has invaded our lives, we have lost our common sense. Common sense and hard work were what made our ancestors succeed in life and business. They knew these things instinctively. They understood the importance of community and that helping the business next door succeed would help them succeed as well.

In the past, people also seemed to understand that not every endeavor would be a success, at least not the first time. They had “can-do” attitudes like Thomas Jefferson who said, "I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work. "

What does not work is mistreating customers and employees, but businesses today fail because of those very things. What does not work is having disgruntled employees in your business every day, when just acknowledging their ideas or treating them with respect would turn their attitudes around. Sometimes just letting them feel that they are empowered to help customers is all it takes to make them feel a part of a team.

What have you done for your co-workers today? Or for your employees? Or for your customers?

Perhaps a change in attitude is all that is required to turn your business around. It’s worth a try, isn’t it? Philosophers and wise men of old cannot all be wrong.

Defining Success By Marilyn Mackenzie

Marilyn Mackenzie has been writing about home, family, faith, and nature for over 40 years, and about business for over 20 years. This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.Facsimile.Com/ which is a site for Fax Machines .


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