Questions to Help You Mind Your Business... Question #9

Question #9: How will I know if I am successful?


This is the ninth in a series of thoughts and opinions by Graham Edwards and Renée Cormier — click here to read the backstory and inspiration (if only for the entertainment). It should be noted that neither of us have seen or discussed our answers before they are posted, which in our mind makes this all the more interesting.

In this blog series we will attempt to answer ten different questions business owners may need answered, using our individual and unique perspectives and approaches. It is our hope that this series will inspire both action and interaction. Please feel free to comment and ask more questions.

Graham —

 I don’t know — you will have to tell me.

Since success needs to be measured against the goals and objectives you set for yourself, it goes without saying only you will know if you’re successful. Sure, there are societal norms and conventions that you can use to benchmark yourself against, but in the end you define your own success.

Oh everyone has an opinion on this; just ask anyone and they will have quite the perspective on it — although I’ve found if you keep pressing you may find they actually struggle to articulate what success really is. I’ve even checked the Internet and found a site called Lifehack — sure enough Missy Yost offered up 20 definitions of success you should never ignore (bless her heart).

  1. Success is always doing your best
  2. Success is properly setting concrete goals
  3. Success is having a place to call home
  4. Success is understanding the difference between need and want
  5. Success is believing you can
  6. Success is remembering to balance work with passion
  7. Success is taking care of your needs
  8. Success is learning that you sometimes have to say no
  9. Success is knowing your life is filled with abundance
  10. Success is understanding you cannot keep what you don’t give away
  11. Success is overcoming fear
  12. Success is seeing your child graduate
  13. Success is learning something new each day
  14. Success is learning that losing a few battles can help you win a war
  15. Success is loving and being loved back
  16. Success is standing your ground when you believe in something
  17. Success is not giving up
  18. Success is celebrating small victories
  19. Success is never letting a disability hold you back
  20. Success is understanding you control your destiny

So there you go.

You may be saying to yourself, “But gpe, we are talking about how will I know I’m successful with my business.” Again, I will say, “I don’t know — you will have to tell me”. You have goals and objectives for your business don’t you?


PS: The only perspective I can really offer is when you set your Goals & Objectives, set them HIGH.

Renée —

I think this may be a bit of a lame question, but as I recall, I was the one who came up with it, so I’m going to provide you with my best answer. People define success in many ways, and it is different for everybody. For some, you are successful if you have a lot of money. For others success is the result of having completed any goal. Are you successful if you don’t have a spouse and 2.4 children? Are you successful if you never own a house or a car? Ask the Dalai Lama.

Years ago, I was listening to a Brian Tracey tape (yes, it was a while ago) about success. He gave a definition that always stuck with me, which was something along the line of achieving any goal with integrity. He went on to say that money is not a measure of success per se. Drug dealers have enormous amounts of money, but you can’t really call a criminal a successful person. They lie, cheat, steal, kill and corrupt to reach their goals. A runner who shoves a competitor out of the way in order to win, is not a successful runner, even if he is first over the finish line. The journey to success is as important as the end result.

So how will you know if you are successful? Look around you. What are you grateful for? Have you set goals in your life? Have you achieved any of them? Have you achieved your goals with integrity? Have you ever failed?

I think truly successful people, never really arrive. Not that they cannot be satisfied, but rather, they find it difficult to stop challenging themselves. Success breeds success. I also think that failure breeds success. You cannot know what you want until you experience what you don’t want. Most successful business people have had their share of failures too. Being able to recognize what is not working and why is a good thing. Have you made mistakes? Did you learn from them? Are you still moving toward your next goal? Do you feel good about the things you have done? Are you a happy person?  I daresay, if you can answer yes to these questions, you are likely quite successful.

The definition of success to me is not necessarily a price tag, not fame, but having a good life, and being able to say I did the right thing at the end of the day. - Jeremy Luke

Thanks to the social media platform beBee, Renée Cormier & Graham Edwards developed a business relationship and friendship that typically involves regular meetings, goal setting sessions, etc. Our meetings often provide the fuel for plans around business strategy, blog ideas and more.

Renee & Graham Blog Plate.jpg



I thought I would learn to code... what was I thinking?

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.

In magazines, definitely in social media streams, and even in a best selling tome... in one form or another, we have all seen this:

                                    "The 10 things you need to know to be successful!"

Sometimes it's eight and sometimes it's fifteen, but nevertheless it is a list of "proficiencies" that you need to know to be successful; I have noticed a tendency to emphasize the list and not so much the definition of success, but that is neither here nor there.

I was reviewing a list a while back, because hey, "we all want to be successful" and one of the suggested "success points" in this particular list was to learn computer coding*. The reasoning was that with the continued personalization of computer programs to manage our daily activities, having a basic understanding of how to code will be crucial.

                                                        This actually made great sense to me.

I should mention that before three weeks ago I had never taken a computer course, a logic course and had always avoided making "macros" in Excel because it was something so foreign to me... a little reminiscent of when I decided to learn to ride a motorcycle. Coincidentally, it seemed a good friend of mine had also read the same "Top 10" and was already into his online lessons. He is in finance and his motivations were slightly different than mine... he wanted better insight into the basics of computer programming so he would know if his IT people were bullshitting him about costs, deadlines and the such. My reasons, besides being more successful, were slightly different.

I've been at it for about three weeks now** and below you find the code I put together for a simple "Pig Latin Translator"... when you enter a word it moves the first letter to the end of the remaining word, and adds "ay". It really works !

print 'Welcome to Pig Latin Translator"
pyg = 'ay'
original = raw_input('Enter a word:')
if len(original) > 0 and original.isalpha():
    print original
word = original.lower()
first = word[0] 
new_word = word[1:len(new_word)] + first + pyg
print 'empty'

What am I really getting out of this?

Do I have a goal to ultimately be competent with basic "Python" code and able to program at a basic level? Yes! 

Is that my only reason? No way... in fact there are many reasons:

  • Trying something new offers me the opportunity to connect and network with new people... I find myself constantly looking for people in "the know" and am introduced to people I would not normally connect with. And based on my humble experience, they are very interesting people.
  • I am forced out of my comfort zones, my habits, my routines and into something unknown. I have to switch off my "autopilot" and think differently. This is the simple formula for discovering wonderful new things.
  • New things compliment old things. In the case of coding, proof reading the code itself, the indentations and the colon placement is making me a better proof reader when I write with "good ol' letters"
  • What I am doing contributes to that Top 10 List for Success because as you know, "constant learning" is always close to the top of that list.

                                                                                  And one last thing,

As my finance friend mentioned, it's a sign we haven't given up... not by a long shot. He is very smart by the way.


PS: Let me know if you see something wrong with my code.

* I understand that in some circles there is a debate as to whether the appropriate word is "coding" or "programming. In my world, I am using the word "coding" because it has less letters to type.

** I am using CodeAcademy (on-line) and I really enjoy their approach; as modest as it is, I am leaning something. I am constantly forgetting to indent and add a colon, but am told this is all quite normal and "to keep at it".