This is a message for every entrepreneur.
These are words of caution that must be read
This message has lived deep down inside me for far too long and has been aching to get out.
When I was 19 years old I started my first company, and by a combination of hard work, luck and opportunity, the company became wildly successful.
I ran this company for about 4 and a half years and throughout the entire process I was constantly nose deep in business books, looking for tactics to grow revenue, get bigger, and become more successful.
By all means we did it. Our company was, and still is today, by societies definition successful.
We achieved accolades, honors and industry recognition.
We became a vibrant leader in the media production industry.
I was even voted Nashville's 2011 Youth Entrepreneur of the Year.
There I stood, a 22 year old with a successful venture and a shelf full of awards.
By all means society would have deemed me as a success.
Yet all wasn't right in the world.
I was absolutely miserable.
The constant pressure of the growing company began to weigh on me. My mind was in a constant state of disarray as I stressed about overhead, employees, making sales, business relationships and maintaining a company culture.
As our company grew, I suffered even more from extreme stress, depression and anxiety.
While on the outside I looked like a success, on the inside I was a complete wreck.
Eventually I left the company, and here I am, just over a year later.
I no longer have the prestigious clients, the fancy office or the team of employees.
Instead, I am running a simple web design agency, while working remotely and traveling the world.
The work I am doing is not flashy, groundbreaking or prestigious.
Despite that, I can truly say I am happier now than ever before.
Yet by societies standards, my company would be viewed as less successful.
I don't work with Fortune 500 clients.
I don't have a fancy office space.
I don't have a team of employees or millions of dollars in revenue.
What I do have is a simple, small business that generates a decent income, while allowing me to travel the world and pursue my passion.
To me, that is more valuable than any client, award or recognition could ever be.
Defining success for YOU
I write this because for years I was pushing toward what our society viewed as success.
I was chasing more revenue, more growth, and more accolades.
Yet in all of that, I was miserable.
What truly made me happy, was to step away from all of the stressful responsibilities and simplify my life.
I write this post to challenge you to change how YOU view success.
Success is not always fame, fortune, a fancy house and nice cars.
Success can be the freedom to travel whenever you want.
Success can be working from home so you have time to spend with your kids.
Success can be pursuing your true passion or inciting change in the world.
Ask yourself this one simple question.
Forget what society says, and be honest with yourself.
Think about it hard and then write it down. Put it somewhere that you will see it everyday and never forget it.
Once you know what success looks like for YOU, make every decision in your life based on achieving YOUR definition of success.
"What success looks like for you?" Answer in the comments below.