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What is Success?

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

By Aaron Solly (As seen in the May issue of the APeeling Digital Magazine)

As seen in the APeeling Magazine April 2020 Issue

Success is all about fame, financial freedom or having a multi-million or a billion-dollar business. Or is it? Success can be defined in so many ways. You may have a variety of experiences with it and perhaps struggled with it.

You may be aspiring to be a best selling author, have a multi-million dollar business or maybe a $5 million mansion in a wealthy neighborhood. If you have all the money you will ever need and a successful business, yet you are feeling tired, stressed, overwhelmed, irritable, is it success?

If you have all the awards of achievement yet, you are feeling empty, unfilled, lost and alone, is this success? If you are in the profession everyone knew you would be in yet you are feeling unmotivated, exhausted, angry and deflated, is this success?

Take a moment and consider your definition of success.

1. What is it?

2. When did you first learn about success?

3. Who taught you about success?

4. What rules have you been taught about success?

5. What is actually true when it comes to success for you?

6. How much is focused on tangible things such as money, cars, real estate or jewelry?

Consider the quotes below from people who most would consider successful individuals


“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”

-- Bruce Lee

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

-- Albert Einstein

“The reason I’ve been able to be so financially successful is my focus has never, ever for one minute been money.”

-- Oprah Winfrey

“Right now I’m just delighted to be alive and to have had a nice long bath.”

-- Richard Branson

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.”

-- Steve Jobs

What do you learn from these individuals?

Where do they put their focus when it comes to success?

Success is about what you feel and experience. What if success is a lot about understanding an internal awareness that you get to control.

A key theme from these quotes is success is an inside job. When I say inside job, I am referring to an emotional connection to what is true for oneself. Logic may assist to help with planning, however, how you feel along the journey to and achieving success is where the value is.

Consider that success is more about becoming open to change, seeing things differently, letting go and stepping into the unknown. The walk to and into the place outside your comfort zone.

Ultimately, how you handle the journey and the life experiences that occur such as a failed business, a failed marriage, a conflict with a business partner, lack of business funding or a prosperous business.

What new skills do you need to learn to ensure every step you take is following your heart and intuition?

From my own experience, I resisted learning new skills to help me experience success differently. It took me some time to understand the benefits of improving how I communicate with myself and others. I was resistant to courses about topics such as emotional intelligence, personal reflection, and mindfulness. It all seemed to provide no tangible value to be successful.

Until I learned that behind the scenes, successful people are constantly working on improving themselves. A key part of that process is spending time asking questions such as how they define success, what barriers are getting in the way and who do I truly want to be in the world.

If you are finding yourself struggling with success and perhaps not believing you are currently successful. Or you earn an above-average income yet you don’t the work you are doing every day. You may want to spend some time going within to better understand what you are experiencing.

The Power of Journaling

A simple and easy way to help gain more internal awareness is journaling. An article published by Michael Grothaus in Fast Company titled, “Why Journaling Is Good for Your

Health (And 8 Tips to Get Better),” highlights health benefits from journaling. The article mentions research by Dr. James Pennebaker, who is a psychologist and leading expert in the field of Expressive

Writing. He has found that journaling strengthens immune cells and has proven to result in drops in depression and anxiety, and increases in a positive mood, social engagement and quality of relationships.

The University of Rochester Medical Center found that journaling can improve mental health. The benefits include managing anxiety, reducing stress and coping with depression, to name a few. To get started, you can write out the answers to these questions:

1. Why do I define success in this way? 2. Where did I first learn about success?

3. When it comes to success, what do I continually struggle with and why?

4. What aspects of my definition to I want to embrace and what do I want to let go?

5. What are my values?

6. Are my values in alignment with how I define success?

7. How do I want to define success moving forward?

8. What areas of personal growth do I need to work on? (ex. communication, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, mindset,

connection to self)

If you need any help in this area, there is an online course I have created called, “Engage, Connect, Grow”. It is a great resource to help with self-reflection. The course is based on my successful use of journaling to overcome challenges with communication, self-confidence, and mindset. There are 52 video lessons which you can do at your own pace such as one lesson per week. Also, there is the opportunity to engage in discussions with myself and other students as you complete the lessons. This course combines self-reflection with a community of support, guidance, and encouragement.


Aaron Solly is a banker turned best selling Author, Facilitator, and Coach.

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