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How Do You Define Success?

The dictionary says that success is defined as “the attainment of popularity or profit,” or “a person that achieves desired aims or prosperity.”

That may be the world’s definition of success, but I define success as a measurement of the heart that only the heart can know. In other words even if the world says that something is successful, if you don’t feel successful in your heart of hearts… what is that kind of success really worth?

I have coached hundreds if not thousands of people and many have shared their stories with me. Success is a feeling, an inner knowing, a sense of contentment at a job well done.

To me Success and Significance are sisters, two sides of the same coin. First I feel successful within myself and then I begin to step up and out to support and help others. Remember that success is winning and significance is helping others win.

When you live a life of significance, you feel truly successful. It is the satisfaction and fulfillment that comes from helping others win.

Louise Mckay is doing just that. She is one of the three principals that came to my home in Hawaii for a private training. She shared with me recently that she returned to her school to hold their first staff meeting of the year and introduced the word HONOR as the focus word for the year.

Then she invited the entire to team to generate a list of ‘honoring words’ that could use in addressing one another.

The team came up with thirty or more honoring ways to speak with each other. Below are just a few:

  • Would it be ok if…
  • If you were in my shoes, what would you want me to say or do?
  • Would you tell me what your biggest concern is…
  • Can we work on this together?
  • How is this working for you?
  • What are your thoughts on…?
  • Thank you for telling me

Louise is thrilled and amazed at the difference it has made in the atmosphere on campus. I encourage all of you who lead a team of any kind to follow in the model Louise has given us.

  1. Introduce the word – you might use HONOR or RESPECT or KINDNESS. You choose the word.
  2. Look it up in the dictionary with the team.
  3. Brainstorm a working definition that the team can agree on together .
  4. Divide the room into teams. Ask them to come up with words they could use when addressing each other that would reflect honor or respect or kindness that they agreed on.

And have fun with it. Louise tells me that the entire atmosphere in her school has shifted in a positive way. There is magic and joy through improved relationships and the work flows more easily!

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