• Tommy Cicero

Defining and measuring success

“Success is loving life and daring to live it.”

- Maya Angelou


Success can be defined in many ways and interpreted from many different perspectives. Careers. Relationships. Life. Some people use money and power as a measuring stick while others value health and happiness. There are wealthy people who are unhappy with their lives while some happy families living in poverty simply feel blessed to have their basic needs met. It can be difficult to feel satisfied with where we are in life if having more stuff never feels like enough and is not the answer to our problems. So what is success? It depends on who you ask.


I equate success with living the highest quality of life. It’s being on good terms with my family and friends. It’s making enough money doing things I’m passionate about. It’s being able to help my loved ones on their own path toward success or helping them to sustain it once they start living the life they imagined. Everyone defines it differently. People also redefine success once they realize their original definition wasn’t everything they thought it would be. Some people stop chasing their idea of success when they realize success to them is a constant feeling, not a box to check off.



In my 20’s I measured success by the size of my paycheck. I was determined to make six figures when I was a technical recruiter ($100k+ USD per year). Once I hit that six figure mark, I quit recruiting because I was unhappy with my life, mostly because of my career. I chose to pursue a master’s degree in counseling instead. The owner at my last recruiting position said I would return to recruiting because the money was too good. What she did not realize for me, it was not about the money anymore. I wanted to feel a lot better while at work and I didn’t need a six figure salary to do that. I never returned to recruiting.


Now I rely on multiple streams of income that help me honor my financial commitments. I'm not currently making six figures and I am ok with that. I’m a much happier person today than I was on my last day recruiting in December 2012. My quality of life is so much better. I have stronger personal and professional relationships. I enjoy the work I get paid for. I have more zest for life. I’m big on self-care. I manage my emotions much better through mindfulness and self-awareness. I am grateful for the blessings and the lessons. I’m excited for my future. This is how I define and measure my success.

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