All Steps

What’s Your Definition of Success?


Define success on your own terms.


Below you will define what success means to you– not society, not family, nor any other outside influencers, but specifically to you. The reason that this is so important is that you can have quite a fulfilling life when you define success based on what is important to you. When you ignore your own definition of success (which you probably innately know), you will feel out of alignment. This could include personal, financial, and professional growth, community, and leadership.

It brings confidence and stability to your decision-making since you know exactly how far you want to go in your life and career growth based on YOUR definition of success. We don’t care if you want to have 10 cars, no cars, or live in a hut in Tibet. Just be true to yourself. In the box below, define what exactly success means to you. The following is information for inspiration.


This is YOUR journey, after all. You decide what SUCCESS means to you.

How Do You Measure Success? Need some inspiration?
16 Inspiring Ways to Measure Success by Steve Mueller ¹

  1. The positive impact you have on others
  2. The ability to overcome your circumstances
  3. The accomplishment of your goals
  4. The creation of your own path
  5. Facing difficulties with courage
  6. The ability to find contentment
  7. Loving what you do
  8. The creation of something of value
  9. The ability to enjoy each moment
  10. Being faithful and committed
  11. Treating others with dignity and respect
  12. The attainment of mastery
  13. The ability to be grateful for what you have
  14. Caring for your family
  15. Growing as a person
  16. Being kind to the weak

Mueller, Steve. “How Do You Measure Success? 16 Inspiring Suggestions.” Planet of Success, Planet of Success, 9 May 2016,

What's Your Definition of Success

What’s Your Definition of Success?



Where did we get the idea that if we had bigger cars, houses, or more status and money, we would be “successful?’ If this is what truly defines success, why are so many people unhappy? To understand how to handle these mixed messages that we are bombarded with every day, in every way (even in public restrooms), it might be helpful to see how humans are driven.

Let’s look at the Four-Drive Theory. In the book, Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices, Harvard Professors and authors Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria explain this theory on the basic drives in humans: 1) the drive to acquire, 2) the drive to bond with other, 3) the drive to learn, and 4) the drive to defend. Let’s look a little more closely at the drive to acquire and the drive to bond. “People are driven to acquire both material and positional goods. Both goods and social status are important here. The drive to acquire is rarely satisfied; you can always want more and always seek ever greater status.”

Do you see the problem in that last sentence? If we are never satisfied with the goods and social status we are constantly seeking, we will always feel we are on the hamster wheel of life: earning-spending-acquiring, earning-spending-acquiring, Our lives then become weighted down with clutter, and with our time and energy constantly focused elsewhere, we rarely get anything meaningful accomplished. At the same time nothing feels meaningful to us anymore. In a Time Magazine article, “The Reason You’re in Love With Material Possessions? Loneliness” by Brad Tuttle, he comments on a study about consumerism where “…the study points to loneliness as the root of material possession love. Consumers are particularly likely to fall in love with possessions they own for a long time, such as the ones focused on in this study. When someone suffers from “social deficits” (i.e., loneliness), he’s more likely to grow attached to possessions. This sort of love may, in turn, lead to further “deficits,” causing a chicken-egg situation for those in the throes of materialistic love.”

It makes sense, doesn’t it? I see this when we overuse social media. (Have you seen the movie Her?) We are all running around on our smartphones, socializing constantly, but in a virtual-one-layer-deep way, where we are often “starved” for ‘human-to-human” time. And in order to interact with social media, we need to show people we “belong” and that our lives are a“success story”. It is rare that social media is used to convey our hardships. Maybe it is time for humans to divert our drive to acquire (possessions or status) into something more meaningful to others and this planet so that we can at least satiate two of our drives: to bond with others and learn…but this is YOUR journey, after all. You decide what SUCCESS means to you. It’s different for all of us.

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Determining what success means to you, will help you determine your growth strategy.

What's YOUR version of success. This could include personal, financial, and professional growth, community, and leadership. See "Instructions & Examples".

How do you define “SUCCESS”?

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Please answer the following honestly and authentically. This will help you to understand where you are at currently.

Don’t forget to save your work with the button on the bottom right.

Just be YOURSELF. Life is too short to be someone else.

Step1: Answer the following below.

Job Risk Tolerance Assessment: Which one describes your risk tolerance for movement in your career such as job change, transition to more responsibility, or mobility? There is no wrong answer. Everyone moves at their own pace. The key is to just be honest with exactly how you innately risk.

Extrovert/Introvert: What is your current state of interacting with people?

Tell us how you feel overall about working:

If you were tasked
to do these, could you?


Yes, haven’t yet, but could if trained.

Not sure...

No way!

Give a presentation for 25 people.
Manage a team of 10.
Give a webinar for 20 people.
Train a team of 15 on a topic.
Manage a large project on a tight timeline.

Answer these two questions: "What brings you joy in your life?" "What frustrates you in the world or at work?"

Just brain storm this for a minute and jot down everything that comes to mind in your life that truly brings you joy. Conversely, Carol Adrienne writes about this in her book, “The Purpose of Your Life”, that it is often the things that frustrate you that show what you are truly passionate about. List below some topics that you can think of that truly frustrate you.

Answer these 3 questions: "What subject could I read 500 books about without getting bored?" "What could I do for five years straight without getting paid?" "What would I spend my time doing if I had complete financial abundance to do anything?"

What are the leaders you look up to (individuals you know personally or just admire from afar)? What specific traits do you admire about them?

Keep these traits in mind for your career development process. They might be traits within yourself you want to cultivate. Look for leaders, potential sponsors and mentors that have these traits.

Leadership Traits You Admire
Notes/Opportunities for Growth (Yours or Coaches)

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Career Choice Sifter©

Sift out the right career choice for you by focusing on your top strengths, skills, drives, and interests.

Step 1: List possible jobs you are already considering, or ones that your assessment strongly recommended that resonate with you.

Please Note: As you go through this particular step, it’s long, so don’t forget to click on the “save” button at the bottom, or you will lose your information. Also, this area is really to brainstorm different career choice ideas. You do not have to figure out your career choice in this area if you are working with a coach.  You and your coach will sift through these ideas in your coaching session.  This is just a place to start researching different ideas and putting information down. 


Step 1: First start with your assessment from the DISCOVER section.  

  1. Were there any career suggestions from your chosen career assessment that look like a possible good fit?
  2. Do you already have some in mind? If you’re starting a consultancy, freelance, or small business, are there any types of business that you are already considering?
  3. Add any career ideas that you want to explore in this area

If you have nothing right now, that’s ok too. Just move on to the next step below.

Step 2: Still not sure? Try searching using these terms below as keyword strings on the internet or LinkedIn.

Step 2: Google keywords to see what comes up.

Add in your top strengths, interests, skills (that you have or want to have) and industries that you enjoy in the boxes below. Mostly we will be looking at your interests, skills, and industries, but I would like for you to put your strengths down to make sure that when we work through this next exercise, you are utilizing your strengths when you look for a career choice. 

A good way to discover your ideal career/business is to use the power of SEO (search engine optimization) by combining your skills, interests, and industry— then use these as keywords to search in the following places to see what jobs, positions, or businesses come up. This might give you some good ideas that you might not have considered:

  1. Google search ( – put in keywords from strengths, interests, skills and then “job” (example: design information strategize job)
  2. Look for jobs and job descriptions using these keywords on job boards and see if the descriptions and criteria excite you.
  3. LinkedIn ( search– put in keywords from strengths, interests, skills
  4. ONET is developed by the Department of Labor and there is an area where you can add in keywords to search for positions: (
  5. Job aggregators like Monster ( and Indeed (
  6. Other sites to explore with keywords include this College Board site:
  7. This national site allows you to put in your past job and see how you can apply those skills to other career possibilities:

Don’t forget to save your work with the button on the bottom right.

Combine a few of these in your search: your strengths + interests + skills/abilities+preferred industries.



Skills/Abilities/Drives You Have or Want to Access

Preferred Industries/Company Cultures

Career Choice 1     

Career Choice 2     

Career Choice 3     

Career Choice 4     

Career Choice 5     

Step 3: Find someone who has the job you want and reach out to them if possible.

Step 3: Find someone who has the job or business you want, and research how they got there through LinkedIn or their personal websites (if applicable).

These people might organically pop up when you try searching your strengths and interests as keywords.

  1. LinkedIn is the first place to look. Open it up and input your skills, interests, and industry and see if anyone comes up.  Do they have a career path that looks interesting to you? If so, what is their particular career path?
  2. Try this same method on Google. Who else comes up?
  3. Look on job boards like Indeed using keywords to search. What jobs come up? Do you like the job description? Go back and try that title in LinkedIn or Google and see who comes up.
  4. Important: Ask someone who is working this field– about the trials and tribulations of that particular job, and how he/she got there. Here is an inmail (LInkedIn) or email you could send to that person:

Hi [name],  

I am hoping you could take a few minutes to help me.  I am considering pursuing a career in the same field you are currently working, and your name came up when I did a keyword search for this position. I want to make sure that this is good fit for me, and I was hoping I speak with you about it. Do you have 10 minutes for a phone call? I would greatly appreciate it.

My background currently is this…. (if you think this is helpful information for the person you are emailing).

Also, if you find that you just don’t have the time right now for a quick call, I completely understand, but would you, instead, answer these questions below? That would also be extremely helpful.

  1. Why did you pick this particular field/position?
  2. What do you like about your job?
  3. What do you dislike about your job?
  4. What are your hours and work environment like? 
  5. What education or training do you recommend for this position (if applicable)?
  6. Can you recommend any unique ways of finding a job in this field?

Thank you again,

[Your Name]

Can’t exactly find the job that fits you? Tweak a position or business idea if needed. Find something close and reconfigure it into something that fits you. Describe your ideal company or position below. Start asking around to see if there is a need for this. If you have the passion and drive, you might be the rare individual who was meant to start it.

Who's worklife would you want to emulate?
Step 4- Assure that your current or potential career choices align with your career goals/values by ranking them. On a scale from 1-10 does this choice allow for this specific goal or value?

Step 4- Assure that your current, potential career, or business choices align with your career goals and values by ranking them.   

  1. List what you want out of your career. You do not even need to know your career choice at this point, so instead type in goals and specifics you want from your career. (For example: Work with animals, have flexible hours, own my own business, etc. ). Make sure to list them in order of importance.
  2. But when you do start finding career choices, come back to this area and type job names in the blue boxes to the right of the career goals list in Career Choice #1, #2, and #3 (if you only have one choice, just fill in Career Choice #1).
  3. Rank your career choice to the goals on the left. On a scale of 0-10, does your career choice meet the career goal to the left? Score: “0”- it does not meet the goal, “1-7-it meets it partially,  “8-10”- it meets it all of the way. It will automatically total your score in the boxes below. The highest number most likely is your best career choice, though you may need to research more. If you are unclear on career choices at this point, go to Step 5.
Career Goals/Values (type in order of importance)
It can be general or specific such as: be owner of a consulting company, make minimum of 125K, work average of 40 hrs a week, be able to travel. (Whatever brings joy, growth and meaning in your career.)
Career Choice #1
Career Choice #2
Career Choice #3
Step 5: Still stuck?

Step 5: Still stuck? Try this.

  1. Try utilizing some the video sites from the Career Choice Resources page (from the menu on the left). You will find some great career exploration sites, as well as career videos you can view.
  2. Look on the internet and see if there is a “day in the life of…” on YouTube. There are many videos out there that describe careers.
  3. Look at 80,000 Hours a website about making a social impact with your career: .
  4. There is a great site called B-Work  ( B Work is a certification that organizations can strive for that conveys when they use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. If that appeals to you, check out some of those companies.
  5. Sometimes the answer is in the past.  Go through all of your work memories and figure out what aspects of your jobs did you specifically like? Working with a group of specific people? Problem-solving? Working alone? Working for a large company with a lot of perks? Working for a company where you had more autonomy?
What are your favorite aspects of any work you have done in your life? List your favorite parts of past jobs and why.

Step 6: List your potential career choices.

Step 6:  At this point, you should have some career or businesses choices picked out.  List the top picks here.

If you do not, and this can happen, you should look into purchasing a 30 minute or 60-minute coaching session so that your coach can help you sift out what you are looking for, and see if there are any barriers impeding your decision. It will be money well spent. Some people can really linger for days, weeks, months, and even years on this decision. It can sometimes be agonizing. Remember, the goal is to thrive and feel alive in your work for you spend half your waking hours there!

Purchase coaching time

Top Career Choices

Step 7: Loosely map out the possible steps to the entry point your choices. Any barriers?

Step 7: Try to just loosely map out steps just based on what you know about these choices. You don’t have to know ALL the steps, but based on what you know The purpose of this is to see if you spot any road barriers that might impede on your decision making at the front end of this decision. For example, some people get stuck because of the needed education and the financial and time implications of that.  If this plays in as a barrier that you absolutely can’t work around right now, then address this with your coach.

Steps to Career Choice #1
Steps to Career Choice #2
Notes -or- Look up labor data to make sure these are viable jobs:

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Considering a Degree? What about investing in credibility instead of a degree? (Optional)


This step is for those that are contemplating getting a degree to help them get to their next career of choice. If you are not doing this- then please skip.


What might be even more fun than going back to school?  Use your college money to travel, research/ research/research, talk to people around the globe, and become a “thought leader” in your industry!  Think about it!  That experience might be far more valuable AND build your credibility further compared to actually getting a degree!  Let me add a caveat to this- make sure you are capable of going this route for it typically works best in newer fields that have not been academically solidified.  See below.

Credibility instead of a degree

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In many fields, a proven track record of success is held in higher regard than degrees.

Use this checklist below to see if this “real world route” might be an option. Check all that apply:
Do you think there are enough of these checked for this career choice? Do you think earning credibility instead of a degree is an option?

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Career ROI (Return on Investment) of a Degree or Training (Optional)


This step is for those that are contemplating getting a degree to help them get to their next career of choice. If you are not doing this, then please skip.


If you’ve come to that fork in the road when you are trying to decide if a degree is worth it for your chosen path, you might need to weigh out the costs, since there are often significant financial needs for education or training when making a career choice. Let’s work through all costs that are applicable to your situation to figure out the return on investment (ROI) of paying for college or training. Often, even if your education is expensive, an added degree can add $10k+ a year and make it well worth it. Skip any areas that do not apply to you.

College and Training Costs:  Calculate education or training costs. Go to College Score Card: to look up numbers.

Payscale: COLLEGE ROI REPORT: Best Value Colleges: 

Ten Year Salary Projection: Weigh the cost of a college degree or training against 10 years of projected income to figure out your ROI. Enter career choice and the projected income for each year for the next 10 years.  Account for performance raises or advancements (guesstimate). Leave inflation out. Go to Salary or Payscale to look up if needed.  How soon can you pay any college or training debt back? If you are able to pay off your debt under five years, that is encouraging depending on other influencing factors in your life. If it takes longer than five years, see suggestions on the bottom left to cut college costs.

Suggestions to minimize costs and/or fund your career choice:

1) Attend state schools versus private (unless private can fund you based on financial need, or if the private degree can provide increased salary due to the prestige of college and college connections).
2) Attend “2+2” college (2 years community college, 2 years state school) which can significantly cut college costs.
3) Apply for any scholarship you can for there are many out there. Check out this site: Scholly.
4) Work for an organization that will pay for your college or training.
5) Liquidate funds/valuables if feasible (there are college tuition tax breaks for funds).
6) Downsize your standard of living to afford college or training costs.
7) Do the “slow track” method: work full time and attend college or training after hours during a longer course of time, cutting the cost of educational debt.
8) Assure you take the lucrative track within that field. For example, if you want to be a therapist, make sure that you can go into private practice as soon as humanly possible and you become a “guru” in your field.

Other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Earning a Degree

Q. In order to get the entry-level job I want, I need a specific degree. Do I get one?

A. A no-brainer…get the degree if you want that job. Keep an eye out for student loan costs and consider a 2+2 scenario if you are paying for college yourself, or look to private schools for scholarships. Public schools have them as well, but not as many. Two-year state schools often have a lot as well. “The ROI of Your Career Choice” will help you determine the costs of college versus 10-year projected income to see if it is worth it to you.

Q. In order to transition into a new job that I want, I need a degree (or advanced degree to get into a leadership position). Should I get one?

A.Get the degree if you want that job and if you are just starting school as a young student. Try to go for all of the degrees you need, but only if you are POSITIVE that is the path you want to go down. Otherwise, work in the field after the first degree to make sure you love it. Some companies pay to advance your education. Going to school can be taxing and expensive so it is better to be a student when your life is less encumbered with financial and family obligations, however, a few years of a little suffering, loss of time, and comfort fade quickly in your mind, especially when it becomes a game-changer for your career trajectory.

Keep an eye out for student loan costs and consider a 2+2 scenario if you are paying for college yourself, or look to private schools for scholarships. Public schools have them as well, but not as many. Two-year (community college) state schools often have many scholarships. “The ROI of Your Career Choice” in this section will help you determine the costs of college versus 10-year projected income to see if it is worth it to you.

Q. I want to move up in my career to a management or leadership position, and more often than not, the people that are in these positions have the degree I am considering. It is rare that someone in those positions has just the experience, and when I have asked around it is recommended that I get the degree. Do you recommend that I get the degree? 

A. Get the degree and consider getting the degree online if you are already working. Can your employers pay? The cost of going to campus, parking, etc. can often be an added burden, and an online degree, if applicable, can be completed conveniently at home, during your lunch break, etc. If you are in debt, it still might be highly worth it, so go through “The ROI of Your Career Choice” in this section, which can help you determine the costs of college subtracted from your 10-year projected income to see if it is worth it to you.

You could also consider alternatively diverting your funds toward an amazing venture that will get you credibility (see “Investing in Credibility Instead of a Degree”  ). Whatever you do, don’t get stuck in a rut where you are not moving forward with your growth and opportunities. That can be frustrating and toxic to your well-being and relationships.

Q. The career choice or position I want to move into requires at least 5+ years experience or a degree. Do I need a degree?

A. In this case, you do not have to get a degree if you can get the 5+ years experience instead. Just make sure you look ahead to see if there will be any roadblocks without the degree.

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Sometimes, a degree is absolutely necessary in order to move up to the next position, and the return on investment of one can be seen in your salary and personal well-being exponentially year after year.

College or Training Costs
Degree, certificate or training you are considering
College tuition for degree(s) or training costs (include room/ books)
Subtract any received assistance, scholarships, etc.
Total Cost

Is the degree, certificate or training worth it?

Ten Year Salary Projection
Projected Income for Career Choice Over 10 Years
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Year 5
Year 6
Year 7
Year 8
Year 9
10 Year Total
Projected Income for Current Career (if applicable) Over 10 Years
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Year 5
Year 6
Year 7
Year 8
Year 9
10 Year Total
Notes/Opportunities for Growth (Yours or Coaches)

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Career ROI (Return on Investment) of Choosing this Career Based on Your Happiness and Well-Being (Optional)



Now it’s time to weigh in on the return on investment of your well-being and happiness. Just look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs below and you will see the importance of personal growth. When you reach the top level of self-actualization (see image below), you feel challenged and find meaning, which, in turn, will allow you to grow, contribute, and give back in many unforeseen ways.  Life can look many different ways and if you are creative enough, you can often find a way to bring growth and meaning into your life by purposefully carving it out, even if the salary is not you would like it to be.  For example, you can down-size your standard of living, or live on less.

Think of the career choice you wish to pursue and ask yourself: How would your level of happiness and well-being change if you chose this career?  What other positive effects would it provide?

In the boxes below, fill in the positive effects of choosing something you truly would enjoy.

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Your level of sanity and happiness affect all around you on a daily basis.

This career choice will improve my well being and happiness in the following ways:

Will choosing this career be worth it based on your well-being and happiness?

Notes/Opportunities for Growth (Yours or Coaches)

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What Speed Do You Need?



You are now closer to picking your career path- if you have not done so already.   If you are still in the weeds with making a decision, definitely consider talking to a coach at this point.  Your coach can provide great clarity for you at this point and really help you sift through this tough decision.

There are three different tracks you can take to get where you want to go: fast, slow and parallel. Read each below and decide which track fits you and your situation. Choose the one you think will work for you.

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You can pick the speed at which you get there. Just make sure you don't run out of steam. Knowing your limits and abilities will help you make the right decision for you.

Pick Your Path to Your Career Choice
  • This is a full time commitment toward training, college, or acquiring the necessary experience needed to move into chosen career.
  • Intention is to move to career choice sooner than later.
  • There is more momentum toward choice and less chance of losing steam toward goal.
  • Often, you have to live on less initially, but have opportunity to pay off loss sooner than later.
  • This path is recommended for individuals who can financially afford to focus full time on their chosen career path,who might lose steam taking a slower route, or are so miserable at their jobs they can not take one day more of their current scenario before they commit themselves to full time therapy.
  • This is a part time commitment toward training, college, or acquiring the necessary experience needed to move into chosen career; you work full time where intention is to move to a career choice eventually, but you are currently unable to dedicate yourself fully to your chosen path.
  • Momentum varies for it takes longer, but sometimes it can recharge you in your current work for you are making headway toward your goal.
  • Financially, you are not as greatly affected for you are working full time.
  • This path is recommended for individuals who can not afford to focus full time on their chosen career path, and who have the stamina to commit to a longer process of realizing their new career goal. Reasons could include: the necessity for family support, large debt, new position they wish to move to will pay less so they do not want to acquire substantial debt, or there is a need for experience combined with education/training so it makes sense to keep their job while moving forward with their goal.
  • You have decided to stay permanently with your current career, and will instead incorporate the strengths, interests, and motivations into your existing job by: taking on a different position or role, ongoing special projects, a side job or volunteer work so you are honoring these aspects, or donating a percentage of your salary to a cause so that your work will have more purpose and meaning.
  • This path is recommended for individuals who may be at the end of their career, or for various reasons just can not realistically make their career choice a reality or maybe even find a career choice. Yes... it happens. But this does not mean that you have to forgo your needs, interests, strengths, etc. Let’ s take the time to come up with a plan to weave what is truly important to you, into your current situation so that you are authentically living a meaningful life no matter what you are doing for work.
Notes/Opportunities for Growth (Yours or Coaches)

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Commit to Your Career Choice

It's probably the right choice if the topic truly excites you, plays on your strengths, you can make a decent living in it, it's a viable field that will be around for a while, and most importantly, you are willing to risk, grow, and put the effort in to get there. Making a choice based solely on income can cost you more in the long run in ways you can't even imagine.

Need Additional Research to Make an Informed Choice? Here are some suggestions.
My Career Choice
I prefer the following method to move into this career choice (see Career ROI worksheets):
Fast Track to Career Choice
Slow Track to Career Choice
Parallel Track (incorporate aspects of your career choice into current work.)
Notes/Opportunities for Growth (Yours or Coaches)

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Thanks for finishing your Career Choice section!

If you have not made a choice, please know that this often happens and you most likely need to sift out what you want and talk about barriers with a coach. Definitely schedule a coaching session. Picking a career is a “sifting” out process. If you have your career choice, then move on to the next phase. It will generally be the next one down the menu that you are allowed access. Don’t forget to add to your Action Plan as needed.