Success is often something I see through backwards lenses. As I push forward, success is something talked about but rarely defined. What is success? How will one know one has it when it is here? Is there a confirmation process to know that it is real?
I know there are many kinds of success. Regardless of how focused I want to be, I find myself thinking about success in a way that includes personal and public. It is a question that is both complex and easy. Do I focus on results at the exclusion of everything else? If so, then the ends justify any means that I use to get there. If not, what is success?
At the risk of irritating anyone looking for an explicit view, let me suggest the following.
Success is not any one thing. It is not a singular event or precise outcome. It is more than results. Success is reflected in different events and in many ways.
Success is more about process and less about outcomes. If you and/or I do the right things, especially when working with others, we are giving birth to success. Success is the reality of compassion living in a community. It is a process. It is found when communities and individuals do the right thing for the right reason. Results (especially short term) are red herrings. While they may look like success, they are the children of successful actions and steps.
Success is measured by what we demonstrate by our actions. If someone talks about successful spiritual lives, the measure is found as “we’ve seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world.” (1 John 4.14) When one refers to values, it is our decisions that speak louder than words.
Knowing what success means gives us an invitation to celebrate the best things in our lives. Embracing what success is will set the framework for how we live. It is the roadmap needed to walk with confidence. The confirmation we are looking for is with us.