Last weekend I attended the Cairns Business Women’s Club Awards gala ball, where I was a finalist for the second year running as a Sole Entrepreneur. It was an honour to again be nominated and again be selected as a finalist and I know that many other finalists felt the same.

The biggest gift for me in that process was realizing that my sense of success comes from watching my clients realise their own greatness and succeed in their own achievements. This year that feeling was on steroids as I watched two of my clients receive awards as Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Business Woman of the Year.

What made this even more incredible is knowing that these awards are a celebration of the successes these two beautiful women already have in making a difference in our community and in the greater good. You can imagine how I felt as tears came to my eyes watching them both heading to the stage.

Success is a much-used word and it is a very ambiguous one at that. It is used in a number of situations by lots of different people, but what does it really mean?

Wikipedia says that success is “the accomplishment of an aim or a purpose” and that’s a great definition, but success is different for everyone.

As a coach I have noticed that no two people have the same definition of what success is for them.

Success for me is knowing that I am making a difference in this world and when I see my clients achieve or effect change in their own world, that gives me the evidence that I have succeeded, it fulfills me. And the same meaning and feelings I associate with my family and dear friends, I love when I know I have made a difference in some way.

What is important here is to understand that success is different for everyone and if you don’t ever define what it is for you then you will never know when you are successful, because you won’t know what the evidence is. This can lead to a feeling of discontent or feeling like you’ve lost something or something is missing.

Success can be anything from having a loving connected relationship with your kids to having a challenging and well-paid career, or making a difference in your community.

Often when I begin to work with a client, they have no idea what success is for them. They’ve spent years thinking success is out of their reach, because they’ve been listening to others definition of success instead of their own. When they are given the space to explore this, they often realize that they are already successful in some aspects of their life and this creates a feeling of accomplishment and being on the right track, giving them motivation and confidence to achieve even more.

So how do you define what success is for you?

Give yourself space
Most people spend their time being busy and often don’t give themselves this time to reflect on what is important to them, because they are too busy with daily activities.

Make the choice to give yourself some space to explore your own mind and heart. Sit down quietly in a space where you won’t be disturbed, even meditate or do some deep breathing before asking yourself the question.

Ask the question
Questions are the natural way we communicate with ourselves. For most of the time these questions are unconscious and because of that they are often ineffective at giving us the answers we are looking for. So if we want to hear the answers that we all have inside of ourselves all the time, then it’s important to ask an effective question.

When you are relaxed and in a place where you won’t be disturbed ask yourself the question – “What is success for me, what does it look and feel like?” As the answers come up, write them down. There will be more than one answer if you give yourself time.

Be patient with yourself
Often people are uncomfortable with not having answers or they feel that their answers need to be “right’ and this can block the process. If the answers don’t come immediately, they give up and go on to do something else. If the answers don’t come immediately that means you are just about to get an insight, which is a great thing.

So take a deep breath and relax. Let go of the need to have all the answers and let go of thinking that your answers need to be “right”. There is no right or wrong answer. Be patient with yourself. When you allow yourself this time and space the answers will eventually come.

What is important to remember here is that just because success has a certain meaning to your friends, family and peers doesn’t mean that must be success for you.

Let go of the “shoulds”, “need to’s” and “have to’s” and define what success really means for YOU.