Success: A Goal or Unhealthy Obsession?

Latest posts by Lori Williams (see all)

Entrepreneurs are high-energy people driven by the need to succeed. I have experienced this in myself, my colleagues and the students who attend my entrepreneurship class at USC. Respectfully, the term successful by its very nature is a subjective and personal term. However, in the business world it is usually defined by the amount of money you make.

It has been over twenty years since I was a young entrepreneur. As I write this article I find myself drifting back to a time when becoming a successful businessperson was the most important thing in my life. Back then I had set a ridiculously high standard. I wanted to be just like the successful business people I watched and admired. If I was to achieve true success, CNBC would contact me for an interview.

Having been born to a German farming family, I held the belief that success was dependent upon hard work. If I was consistent and earnest in my efforts, success would eventually take root and grow. After extensive education, both in academia and life experiences, I concluded that I needed to work smarter. Armed with this new insight I was convinced my high-level success was just around the corner. Although I was “climbing the ladder” I never felt successful. I still maintained such high standards that I could never enjoy the fruits of my labor. They were never enough.

When I was at the top of my game the recession hit. I saw business owners who had struggled for years to obtain a nest egg for retirement, lose everything. I was completely dismayed and questioned whether I was even chasing the right goals. I no longer wanted to be the overachiever in business, always forging ahead for some new monetary gain. I wanted a balanced life, where my personal dreams carried the same importance as my professional goals. I wanted to spend more time pursuing the things I loved doing. I finally came to the realization that my goals where unrealistically high and restructured my overaggressive ambitions.

My desire to have CNBC interview is now a distant memory. I no longer entertain thoughts about taking over the business world or being interviewed by anyone. Instead I look for business opportunities that I find rewarding. I have successfully created a life that provides me with the financial freedom I need, to pursue the things I enjoy. I finally figured out the true meaning of success. As it turns out, the goal in life is to be happy.

Lori Williams is a well-known business consultant, speaker and writer, and is the founder of www.BusinessSimplyPut.com which is an online resource for business information and advice. She helps entrepreneurs create the business life they desire.

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