Tim Ferriss was an early investor in Twitter, Uber, Facebook and others.  He has written many best-selling books including The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body and Tools of Titans.  He has a successful podcast where he interviews chess prodigies, actors, athletes, hedge fund managers, military leaders and entrepreneurs to dissect excellence and give listeners the inspiration to dream big and make things happen in their own lives. 

One of the questions he asks many of his guests is, “What is your definition of success?”

Of course names like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs come up.  But many mention someone who lives a balanced life.  Who understands that time is the one commodity that can’t be replaced.  Who has found a way to be authentic.  Who loves and is loved.

Author C.S. Lewis once said, “Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.”  If this definition is true, the definition of what a successful person looks like might change in your eyes.

How many times have we looked in the mirror and thought, “I am a failure.  I’m useless.  I can’t do the presentation, get the promotion, close the deal, parent the way I need to?”  Everyone has.

But that feeling, that moment, is a stepping stone to success.  If we ensure our ladder is leaning against the right wall before we start climbing, and we embrace what brings us joy, we are successful.

As poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

So what is your definition of success?  Money, likes, followers, moments that made you proud, watching your children thrive, travelling to new places, spending time with family and friends?  There is no correct answer.  There is just the answer that works for you.