des moines, iowa and beyond

workflow & systems strategist

How to Define Success for You


How do you define success? Is it making a certain amount of money, having a team, paying for your family vacation, fueling your creative passion or being a stay-at-home mom? Whatever that looks like for you – own it. I recently wrote about mindset shift for how to “do it all” – a conversation that I believe needs to be shifted. In an effort to expand on that, I’m excited to share tips for how to define success for you.


I’ve been thinking about ‘doing it all’ lately and how that is such a stigma these days. Many of us feel like we need to do all the things and do them well. On top of our self-imposed expectations, the perception on social media seems to be that we are successful in doing just that. For me, that adds a level of pressure to actually live up to that perception. What an unfortunate cycle. My hope is that we can have a more transparent, graceful and honest conversation about being our best, most successful selves.

In order to do that, here is the kicker – we need to define what success is for each of us.¬†Learning to define what success means to us on an individual level is the key, I believe. Once we do that, other people’s expectations or their definitions of success become just that – theirs. We can rest and be confident in what works for us, our family and our journey.

Over the last six years of my journey in entrepreneurship, I have envisioned multiple scenarios and successes for my business, our family and myself. The last year has brought clarity that I have been searching for and in that process of discovery, I finally feel confident in the decisions that have been made. To be clear, there are still a lot of things to figure out and both life and business will continue to ebb and flow, everchanging. I’m excited to share the four steps that I took, by myself and in discussion with Adam, to define what success looks like for me, our family and Harper Hadley, in hopes that they help you define what success is for you.

  1. Write down where you see yourself in 10, 20, and 50 years. Get descriptive and write down emotions, sights, sounds, company. The more detail you write down, the more invested and motivated you will become.
  2. Decide what you need now to achieve that. This can be related to time, wellness, financial fitness and a host of other things. Whatever shape it takes, write it down so it becomes actionable.
  3. Decide how much time you really have to dedicate to the work to meet those needs. We all have the same number of hours in a day. The way we spend them is very telling of our priorities and our hearts. If you work another job, want to have dedicated family time or have other activities vying for your attention, the time you do spend needs to be intentional. That means being realistic about what you can accomplish in the time you have on your calendar to make progress and take action.
  4. What does that mean and look like for your business? Build your business around your life, not the other way around. Though it might not look the ideal way now, you will never get there if you don’t have an end game. Then, you can curate your task list to the value-add and impactful tasks now and create space for the bigger things or ‘nice-to-haves’ later.

For example, in an ideal world, I see myself and our family on our homestead, rocking on the front porch with music and our grandchildren’s’ laughter in the background. I envision that our days will be filled with joy, love, and family surrounding us. Though there is much more involved in that, you get the idea. Those things are specific and have nothing to do with the minutia of my to-do list. It is a lifestyle description.

In order for us to achieve that end goal for our life and family, we need to start taking steps toward it now. That means sitting down with Adam to map out our current needs (schedule, finances, wellness, and relational health) and how we will save up for the land, home and other details we envision for that dream. Part of that conversation involved pulling out our calendar and realizing what time the two of us can dedicate to taking care of our family and for me to work. From there, the to-do list falls in line and we are able to make realistic weekly, annual and long-term plans.

All of this to say that the answers to those four questions will, no doubt, be different for every, single person who answers them. So, let’s stop expecting a one size fits all solution or definition of success, both in life and business. I’m really excited to start looking at this topic of how you define success and what building your business to meet that looks like. (hint: it might even be a big part of the secret project!)

Sound off in the comments if you know someone who is in need of encouragement and/or has done well at defining and being confident in what their success looks like for them.

xoxo, Jenn

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