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Is the concept of success outdated?

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Article originally published in City AM

When I first started my career, I defined success as proudly telling friends “I work in media and live in London”. In my twenties, success was monetary as I strove to earn a salary higher than others my age. But now, I define it as working for a company that inspires me, supports me and one that enables me to provide and care for my family. In the modern working world, the traditional views I held of success seem old-fashioned, and yet pressure from society to conform to stereotypes of large pay packets and company cars are making us feel like failures.


LinkedIn’s recent research revealed that 13.5 million Brits feel unsuccessful, and a third of those don’t think they ever will be. It also found that over a third wish success was perceived as less important by society – perhaps unsurprising considering ‘society’s view of success’ was one of the main factors they feel most negatively impacts the chances of achieving it.


But this shouldn’t be the case. Like many things in life, success can take various forms and mean different things to everyone. There’s no need to automatically consider success in terms of money or power, when it could be finding the right work-life balance, or following a dream to travel the world. After all, our study found being happy is the ultimate definition of success for most of us.


I believe the concept of success itself needs an overhaul. Success should be attainable for everyone, no matter where they are from or which career path they have chosen; it’s all about how we define it. Over a quarter of people in the UK think that traditional perceptions of success are outdated, and its status symbols – six figure salaries and fast cars – are being pushed aside in favour of time for hobbies and starting a family. For me, as a working parent, inspiring other women and helping them achieve their goals and ambitions makes me feel successful. Surely if we change our perception of what success looks like and pursue what’s right for us then we’ll all start to feel more successful?


So, whether success is making time for friends and family or learning a new skill, starting your own business or the opportunity to coach and mentor others, it’s time for us all to take a step back and redefine what really makes us successful.


We’d love to hear what you think makes you successful using #ThisisSuccess