• Chad C. Betz

What is Success?

> Having a million dollars?

> Owning a business?

> Spending more time with family?

> Volunteering more?

Typically, when we think of someone who is “successful,” they have made a lot of money or have built a business. Those things can be signs of success, but not always. If someone builds a business and earns lots of money but alienates everyone around him, is that person a success?

Success is a very personal concept. We each need to decide what success means for ourselves. If we do not make that decision, there is a good chance that we will be working towards someone else’s success rather than our own. To work toward our success, we need to determine what we are looking to accomplish and what we are willing to give up to do it.

Decisions come with opportunity costs. We need to give up some things to get others. The things we give up are the opportunity costs. To illustrate the point, I’ll tell you about my experience getting my Masters Degree in Economics. When I was going to school, my kids were young. I had to make decisions on whether I would go to class and do my homework or spend time with my kids. It was a difficult decision because either decision had significant costs. Spending time with my kids is important them and me. Spending time on my school work gets me good grades. There were times when I said I would suffer average grades so I could spend time with my kids. There were other times that I needed to spend time away from my kids so I could get the grades I wanted.

We make those decisions every day. For these decisions, we need to ask ourselves two questions:

1. How are we defining success for this situation?

2. What are we willing to pay (give up) to gain that success?

Another example that demonstrates this is my decision on going on vactation. About five years ago, I had three large deals that needed my attention if they were to close. Unfortunately, they needed my attention when I was scheduled to go on vacation with my family. Although I did not do it as formally as I am describing it here, I did answer the two questions.

What was a success for me and what was I willing to pay? Was getting the deals done the success or was it the cost? I needed to ask the same for going on vacation. After looking at the situation, I decided that closing the deals were the success and missing vacation was the cost.

By closing the deals, I would benefit by:

· Earning enough money to support my family

· Getting future opportunities

· My wife and kids would still go on vacation

What were the costs of missing vacation:

· Costs were isolated primarily to my missing out

In my analysis, I had to make sure that the deals were benefiting me. There were times in my career that a deal closing would benefit the company but not me. In that case, I should choose the vacation. There are times when we get nervous and will miss the vacation and gain no benefit. The potential of incurring costs with no benefits is why it is important to understand what success means to you. You don’t want to sell your success only to feed someone else's.

Don’t look at success as a big, final destination that resides somewhere in the future. Look at it every day. You can control today; you can’t control the future. Look at what you are doing right now.

Are you watching television? Is that a good trade off for reading, talking with your family or going for a walk?

Are you in a stressful job? Is the job helping you reach your goals or are you just helping others reach their goals?

Look at what you are doing right now. Ask yourself the two questions. Make a decision on how you want to proceed.

The first step to success is living with intention.

For more insight on how you can succeed, pick up “Late Bloomer, It’s not too late to succeed! on

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