My alma mater recently honored me for being what they consider “successful” in the business, community, or educational worlds. And as a result, I was asked to define success and give advice to college students as they look to enter the real world. If you read my blog you already have read half my answer and know that this was not an easy task for me.

Thoughts went through my head that included dollar signs, retirement ages, peer recognition, etc., but in the end I realized none of that really matters. In fact, it is pretty simple. So for what it’s worth, here’s how I define success.

Success is defined by how much impact I have in improving the lives of those around me and if that influence carries over into them wanting to make those around them better as well.

Sometimes it is helping a client’s business grow. Sometimes it is watching one of my children defer to the other. And sometimes it is in the tears of a friend who needed to hear the truth.

But after writing the blog I realized that the most important part of what I had to say was in my message to college students. Because it took it one step further and defined a life attitude that leads to all success, no matter how you define it. So as a soon to be 40-year old professional who has held many jobs and made many mistakes in life, this is the wisest advice I could give anyone to be successful in life.

There is always an answer, find it. There is always another side, listen to it. There is always a short cut, never take it. No one is going to do it for you, make it happen. You don’t know everything, admit it. And life it short, live it with passion every day.

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