What does success “actually” mean?

What is success? It’s a rather subjective word if you ask me. Many would say it is having a great job, nice “material” things, being physically fit, or having achieved specific life goals. But what is it really?

What we don’t immediately think of when we think of success is the amount of happiness we have, how many people’s lives we have a positive influence on, if we are generous, if we’re enjoying life, or if our relationships are thriving. These are things that may be on the back of our lists, but rarely on the forefront of our minds.

Having a dear friend pass away recently (the day before his 30th birthday) has really opened my eyes to what I believe success is. At the end of his life, he was not remembered for the amazing car he drove, the wardrobe that was always on point, being an agency signed model, or the companies he had started. In fact, in the end, those things all looked pretty insignificant. From the thousands of people that his life touched you will hear almost every person say the same things about him. He was kind hearted to every person he met, he was diligent, he was inspiring and always encouraging everyone around him, he was always adventurous and constantly taking risks, he took the time to have genuine conversations with people, his love and passion for God was shown every single day, he cared about the less fortunate and was always generous to anyone in need, and he was constantly making people smile and laugh.

It’s easy to get caught up with the material things we can physically “see” in life, although, at the end of it, those things won’t even matter. When you’ve been stripped away from all of it… will people call your life successful? I want to make a difference in the world, whether it’s just one person’s life or many. I want to be successful not for the stuff that I have or the things that I do, but for the lives that I impact.

I believe Stephen Reed was greeted standing face to face with Jesus with a “well done, my good and faithful servant” speech. He was far more successful than any billionaire living today, and his legacy will continue to live on. Although death is never easy to deal with, it is always a good reminder of the things we should prioritize in our lives.

“Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.” -Orison Swett Marden

-Melissa Soule