I was at lunch the other day with a friend that I hadn’t spoken with in years.
During the lunchtime conversation, he made the comment, “Man, how did you get so successful?”
At first, I dismissed it, as often I get embarrassed by such complimentary remarks.
But when I started driving back to the office after the meeting, I got wondering – wow, am I really that successful?
One of the biggest obstacles to overcome as an entrepreneur is constantly shortchanging yourself; always having doubts that you could have done a little more, made a little more, put a little more time in.
Essentially, we, entrepreneurs, are never satisfied.
I’ve often had to take a step back and ask myself what my personal definition of success was, and I realize it’s not always about the money.
In my industry, I talk to a lot of young gun financial advisors who are all about making the quick buck, as that is their only metric of success; and, ultimately, it’s sad because at the end of the day, money does not rule the roost.
So, if somebody asks me, “Jeff, do you think you’re successful?” My answer is an unequivocal, “Yes“. But it might not be for why you think. Let’s take a look at my personal definition of success:
I’ve got the love of family and friends.
Having come from a divorced family growing up, I’ve never been super close to my family.
Yes, we did Christmas; yes, we did Thanksgiving, but when I compared myself to other families and how they got together for certain birthdays and various traditions, I always felt that my growing up was a bit different.
Now that I have three sons of my own, family is everything.
In addition to that, I have several friends that I met in sixth grade that remain some of my best friends today.
It’s amazing that our friendship has been that close, and even though we don’t get together as much as we would like, each time we do, it’s picked me up as if no time had passed at all.
In addition to family and childhood friends, we’ve also gained new friendships within our church. We’ve been able to connect with many couples that have young kids just like us and able to share and relate in several ways. Having a close-knit group of family and friends is such a huge blessing and is definitely a part of my success.
I love what I do.
Recently, I was talking with a guy who had switched careers and ended up becoming a dental hygienist in his early 30’s. In his previous career of mechanical engineering, he had experienced four layoffs over a two-year period. He chose the dental profession as he felt that it was a safer industry that would prevent him from going through any more layoff experiences.
He made good money and he seemed very content in his job. When I asked him how he liked it, his response is something I’ll never forget. He referred to his job as just that,
“It’s work. I go to work, I get paid, and call it a day.”
In his case, he didn’t love his job; it was just a means to an end. While I can definitely respect somebody who makes the sacrifice to provide for himself and for his family, I feel very fortunate to truthfully say I love my job. I love helping people making sense of their financial life.
Obviously, my job has challenges; remember the financial crisis in 2008? Trust me, I haven’t forgotten.
But despite those challenges, every day I get the opportunity to help people, whether it’s in my office or on my blog. There is no greater feeling than really helping somebody out and giving a solution to their problems and satisfying their needs.
Freedom to pursue other passions.
If you’re reading this article, then obviously you’re reading it on my blog. Having founded my own investment firm, it gives me the flexibility to pursue my blog and other business ventures if and when they arise. You can follow some of these ventures on other blog Dollars and Roses that I started with my wife.
I’ve talked to so many people that have a job that doesn’t allow them to get on Facebook or on Twitter while they’re at work, which might sound trivial, but it’s those little freedoms that I love.
If I hadn’t gone the route in creating my own firm, I never could have grown my blog to what it is today.
If you remember the Roth IRA movement, that never would have happened in my prior arrangement.
Having the freedom to pick and choose what you want to do is so powerful, and it is definitely an ingredient in my recipe for the personal definition of success.
What is your personal definition of success?
What is it about what you do each and every day that makes you feel satisfied? Everybody has their own definition of success, but you may be surprised at what you’ll find if you take the time to clarify what success really means to you.
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