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24 Versions of Success from 24 Interviews

Success (noun) [suh k-ses]: People across different industries, professions, backgrounds, countries, and lifestyles have different yet similar concepts of this vague term.


As part of my 2017 New Year’s Resolution, I was fortunate to interview 24 friends about a wide range of subjects to learn their insights. A friend was also kind enough to put me in the interviewee chair which provided a cool experience as I finished this project where I conducted two interviews each month of 2017.


These interviews are intended research for a future book but let’s share some findings in this article. As an advocate for Well-Rounded Success, I find it necessary to learn other people’s perspectives. A mindset which I wanted to learn was how others think and act in accordance to their personal definitions of success. One question asked to each interviewee was:


What is your definition of success?


Below are the 24 responses from the interviewees. These responses are anonymous to protect the privacy of the individuals. But here’s a friendly challenge: Try to match the profession to the definition of success.


Here’s a list of the professions represented by our interviewees.

  • Volunteer Firefighter
  • Small Business Owners (4x)
  • Medical Professionals (3x)
  • Nonprofits (4x)
  • Recruiting
  • Member Organization
  • Marketing & Sales (2x)
  • Lawyer (2x)
  • Oil & Gas
  • Education (3x)
  • Financial Planner (2x)


1) To me, success is doing what you LOVE, like absolutely love, to the absolute best of your ability, all the while inspiring others and providing massive value to as many people as you possibly can. That doesn’t mean you won’t have tough days, because you will. Loving what you do means loving the process. Knowing that if you master your habits, in a field that you have fallen in love with, failure is not a possibility.

2) Doing something you truly enjoy while helping others, respecting yourself, and replacing yourself by creating something bigger than just one person so you can pass something on.

3) Success is very fluid and you have to appreciate the improvisation of life. Go after challenges that feeds a fire in your soul and educate others. Take steps towards the person you want to become and be sure to rinse-and-repeat often with new goals.

4) Happiness. And to also find your own definition. I want to be comfortable money-wise and do something I enjoy.

5) Be self-driven and internally feel like I did the best that I could and that I accomplished what I wanted to do.

6) Being able to participate and engage in things that make you happy without your participation negatively affecting your life. Try different things that can make you feel whole. There’s something to be said for financial stability since it makes things easier.

7) Break success down granular by achieving goals and also making a positive impact.

8) Fulfillment in daily work so I feel accomplished and get a goal done every day. Life success means not getting caught up in material objects. I choose to focus on making an impact on others. I hope to eventually find ways to relax and reflect on a porch while drinking lemonade.

9) I can be successful if I do “A,” “B,” and “C.” I’m a very goal-oriented person.

10) First and foremost to make sure I’m happy. Which sounds selfish. I want to find meaning in that I’m making a difference and also need to make sure that I’m feeling fulfilled by giving back. On a micro level, success means that people around me feel cared for. On a macro level, positively make an impact on how others perceive people with disabilities.

11) I don’t trust corporate America’s definition of success. Success is more about fulfillment. In knowing who you are and what kind of work you want to do. To find alignment with your character and making strides in being the person you wish to become.

12) Being proud of whatever you have done. Success could be that you kept a 40 hour work week as a good employee. Doing it honestly and surviving. I’m proud of what I’m doing now and what’s next.

13) Building your career, and your life, on your terms. Those terms can be different for every person. The goal is to look back and be proud of what you accomplished.

14) Finding things to do and then doing them. This habit gives me a sense of self-satisfaction. Pursuing a meaningful life and to feel like you have a purpose. I feel like I’m on the right track since I’m feeling successful because I’m carrying out my dream and being productive.

15) My parents told me: success isn’t about money. Success is about hard work and being happy and doing what you want to do. When I find something I want to do, I then try to achieve it. Once I achieve it, I move on. Whenever you feel uneasy, find a perspective that can make you grow. When you’re feeling successful, still keep a level of ambition.

16) Being able to take care of those who you want to while being comfortable. Nurture and take care of loved ones. Being proud and morally at peace with how you achieved the ability to do this.

17) Well-Rounded Success. It’s important for me to understand life is more than being a family man, successful in my career, or being a philanthropist. You have to divide your energy instead of getting tunnel visioned. I want to make sure I try my best every time.

18) Do something that I’m really passionate about and that I really look forward to do every day. But, it also has to have an impact on society, the people around me, and my personal economy. If I’m able to do something that I’m passionate about, that is a definition of success. If I meet someone who’s passionate and not starving. That’s success too on their own terms.

19) It’s all about balance. Balance in work life. Balance in being healthy but not being obsessive about it. Balance spending time with friends and spending time at home. Balance in spending time with my different families.

20) I’m still working on defining success. I gauge my personal success on being able to sleep at night. If I’m not able to rest my mind, something is astray, and likely not as successful as it can be. Real success, however, is being proud of your work personally, instead of having others be proud of it.

21) My family being happy, safe, and fed well. Graduating school soon and also getting a job. Find a thing that I like to do and then do it.

22) Freedom of being able to wake up every morning and do whatever I want to do. My first success was making a product and selling it. This product took five years to develop and then people bought it without returning it!

23) Success to me is to have options. Having the option to have a car, home, travel, but maybe choosing not to do it. Success doesn’t mean having a bunch of things.

24) When I can live without regrets. I always think of my mission of life as my meaning of life. I can solve problems and do my best. Take care of my problems first and then if I have extra hands, help others.

Now that you read all of these definitions, is it obvious which profession said which response?


Chances are you could pinpoint a certain Financial Planner to a certain response about being Well-Rounded but everyone’s definition represents their own personal journey. Everyone, no matter their chosen profession, has a unique mission yet we all want similar things: Happiness, Fulfillment, and Accomplishment.


For those who played along with my challenge above, here are the answers to our friendly mix-and-match:

  • Volunteer Firefighter
    • 15
  • Small Business Owners (4x)
    • 1, 12, 13, & 22
  • Medical Professionals (3x)
    • 14, 19, & 21
  • Nonprofits (4x)
    • 5, 6, 9, & 10
  • Recruiting
    • 8
  • Member Organization
    • 20
  • Marketing & Sales (2x)
    • 3 & 23
  • Lawyer (2x)
    • 2 & 16
  • Oil & Gas
    • 7
  • Education (3x)
    • 4, 11, & 24
  • Financial Planner (2x)
    • 17 & 18

Thanks to every one of the interviewees who helped me understand that no matter the profession, we’re all trying to figure out our own life paths the best we can.


As you figure out your definition of success, have fun with the constant evolvement of your journey, take care of yourself, and help others along the way. Hmm… that sounds nice. Maybe I just created a new definition of success for myself.

Thanks for reading and if you want guidance on how to navigate your personal finances or you want help with your personal growth, please get in touch with me or learn more at Well-Rounded Success’ Services on the website.

Daniel C. AndrewsAbout the Author

Dan Andrews is the Leader & CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ of Well-Rounded Success. Dan enjoys guiding and encouraging millennials through their ‘adulting’ responsibilities. His behavioral-finance style focuses on helping individuals in the Well-Rounded Success community define his/her own definition of success, make good decisions, and to also be philanthropic while along their journeys.


Photo by Jarryd Wafer on Unsplash