Two Tiers of Success

Success can mean many things to many people, but in general, it can be divided into two categories. On one hand, a person with a steady income, a place to lay their head, and a supportive social circle can certainly be considered a success. On the other hand, For some, success is more than these basic achievements. For some, it is not enough to have a good job and steady income. For these people, success is measured in excellence. Whether your success goals are to simply be good or to be the best, to truly get where you want to be, you have some questions to ask yourself.

How do you define success?

Whatever your goal is, you need to determine the level you are reaching for. Let’s say that you want to write and publish your own novel. Maybe you just want to share your passion with others, maybe you want to pay the bills doing something you enjoy, or maybe you want to be the next J.K Rowling achieving fame and fortune beyond your imagination. You must identify at the beginning which of these is most true for you because the path to each is vastly different.

Personal Goals Versus Community Goals

Consider the section above to be the “What” part of the equation and this to be the “Why.” You have to identify your goals and then recognize your motivation for them. Using the writing example again, do you want to write a novel for the reader or for yourself? Are you looking to entertain the masses or to tell your story? There is no wrong answer but it is important to know the difference. This applies to any form of success you pursue be it artistic, business, or otherwise.

How Much Time and Effort Will You Put In?

Time management is crucial to any task, and no one reaches their goals without putting forth the effort. What you have to decide is How much time and hard work you are willing to give. This is directly linked to the “What” and “Why” above. Understanding that you will get out what you put in, you have to make sure you know what you are working for. If your effort is in tune with your goals, then there is no reason you can’t be successful.

What is your Direction?

I realized the two tiers of success from an unlikely observation. I recently had two plumbers come out to my home on two separate occasions to do work. The first was older and clearly more experienced. The second was less knowledgable. It occurred to me that each was a success in their field. Each one was educated and had learned a trade in an industry that will provide for them and their family. One, however, demonstrated excellence rather than just basic ability.

From this, I determined that there are two tiers of success and the difference between the two is where you set the finish line. If your goal is to “become” something, you can achieve your goal, but you will never excel. If your goal is to not only become but to become great, you will achieve excellence. In my example of the two plumbers, the less experienced and knowledgable man is not less successful. He is less developed in his career and that is fine. What is important, is that he can decide to learn and grow and become more knowledgable than what he is now, or he can decide to stop because he has already achieved his goal.

If your goal is to become a lawyer, once you pass the bar, you will have achieved your success, but you will never become great. If your goal is to be a musician, once you make an album, you will have succeeded, but you will never be exceptional. If your goal is simply to become something, you will never become everything you could be. Ask yourself “What is my path?” If you want to achieve greatness, your path cannot lead to a destination, but rather, it must be a road of learning and growth always seeking to be better tomorrow than yesterday.