How do you define career success? Here are many of the definitions my career coaching staff and I regularly encounter:

  • What a feeling
    Example: I am successful in my career if I feel happy to do that work a majority of the time.
  • Show me the money
    Example: I am successful in my career if I earn over $75,000 per year or I am successful in my career if I am financially stable enough to retire at age 50.
  • Up, up and away
    Example: I am successful in my career if I am getting a significant promotion every 3 years.
  • It’s my life
    Example, I am successful in my career if I have the flexibility I seek and am able to telecommute 3 days per week.
  • Follow your heart
    Example: I am successful in my career if it has independence, challenge, social interaction, creativity and flexibility.

definition of career success

The Right Definition of Career Success

There is no right answer. There is only a right answer for you. What does career success mean to you? Write it down. Once you have defined it, evaluate your success in your current career? If you are in complete alignment with your definition of career success, congratulations!

Meeting Your Definition of Success

If you are not meeting your definition of success, consider what you might be able to do to get closer. Perhaps you haven’t met the goal yet, but are on a good path to meet your definition of success in the future. Are there small or manageable things that can be done to make you feel like you are attaining your success goal? At times, though, there is nothing significant we can do in our current job/career to get closer to that definition and it may require a larger change like a career transition.

As you continue to progress through your career, periodically review your definition and change it, if necessary, and continue to evaluate if you are in alignment with your success definition. I encourage you to create your definition for career success right away. This overarching definition can act as one guide for you through the career management journey.