The connotation around the word success doesn’t mean what it once meant to me. Growing up I can remember thinking that success equated to wealth, status and excellence. Honestly, to be successful felt intimidating and unattainable. The intimidation around success was one of the main reasons that I felt it necessary to explore the idea.
I was recently asked to run down a list of accomplishments, and I had at least 10 things that I rattled off, but does that mean that I’m successful? Being the host of the personal development podcast Switch, Pivot or Quit, I wanted to take the opportunity to consult with other women about their thoughts on success.
In the last year and a half, I’ve interviewed more than 75 women in business and more recently, through producing the new Mayzie Media podcast A Milli, I’ve had in-depth conversations with a variety of stellar women who have amassed one million-plus in business.
When asked: what does success mean or look like for you? I discovered an honesty that was refreshing among the women interviewed for A Milli, despite collectively having $60 million in annual revenue, 5 million in social followers, and more than 116 million in funding.
“I’m not sure what success means to me,” said Abyah Wynn, a 29-year-old Vice President of Business Development at Trimantium Capital. “I think that giving back in a big way and being able to use my talents and everything I’m learning and doing now to help others would be my definition of success.”
Ahead, my takeaways on success.
Personal Wealth Is a Non-factor
Not only has our idea of success as a society began to shift, but we are also seeing an evolution in how we allow success to play a role in our lives day-to-day. Many of us are realizing that there’s more to life than the flashy outward perception of success, especially from an emotional perspective. Abyah also said, “I could drive the car and buy the house and wear the shoes and the designer labels, and that’s great, but that is absolutely not my definition of success.”
Definitions Are Changing
Pre-social media many of us had this fairytale idea of what success looked like, but now we see that success can come in different ways, take different forms and evoke different feelings and that’s okay.
“I think success, in general, is very personal,” said Christina Stembel, Founder and CEO of Farmgirl Flowers. “I think for myself it means building Farmgirl into a company that I’m really proud of, meaning that I did it the right way. I didn’t do it the way that just maximizes profits in order to get the highest sale amount. It’s building a company that I’d want to buy from, sell to and work at.”
Success Is in the Little Things
Daily, we have the ability to feel successful in the most routine ways. We can also help inspire those around us to feel a sense of accomplishment and success as well. Speaking on her feelings regarding success Drybar founder, Alli Webb immediately defaulted to the emotion that her business draws out of women. “We’re doing over a million blowouts a year, which means we’re making a lot of women happy and I very quickly learned, which I don’t think I completely realized when we first started Drybar, how incredible Drybar and a great blowout makes a woman feel.”
Happiness Means the Most
A common theme that surfaced during my interviews was happiness. We all just want to be happy, and we are starting to realize that we have to prioritize our happy. “I think success is just being happy with myself wherever I am and with whatever I’m doing,” says Nicole Gibbons, Founder, and CEO of Clare. “I think when it comes to family and my personal relationships I think having those relationships be healthy and happy is also what makes me feel really accomplished and successful because when you’re running a big company having a support system is really, really important. My measure of success is not tied to any one accomplishment it’s more tied to my own personal sense of contentment and happiness, and that’s really how I look at the idea of success and how I define it.”
We Can All Be Successful
Determining whether or not you have been successful in your life can only be made by you. Your interpretation of self and your accomplishments dictate whether you choose to believe that you are successful or not. One definition of success points to it being the accomplishment of one’s goals, and you can do that right! Think about it, something as simple as establishing that you want to begin a routine of morning meditation for ninety days straight is a goal. If you follow your plan and achieve that goal for the next ninety days, then you were successful. Success can be accomplished daily, and we are the ones that complicate it with expectations.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ahyiana Angel is the Founder of Mayzie Media, a podcast network with content curated for women, and host of the Switch, Pivot or Quit podcast. A traditionally published author, Ahyiana is a seasoned executor who eventually blocked out the world’s ideas of success, quit her highly coveted position at the NBA, moved to London and traveled the world for a stint, then followed her passion in writing to find her purpose in encouragement through podcasting.
Mastering the art of note-worthy ideation, Ahyiana taps into her more than 12 years of professional business marketing experience to lend her thoughts on professional development, digital marketing, contemporary brand styling and more. However, Ahyiana enters her zone of genius when speaking to audiences about her 4 Ps: publicity, publishing, personal development and podcasting.
This post was originally published on October 25, 2018, and has since been updated.