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Step-By-Step Process Of Defining Success On Your Terms As An Entrepreneur

Updated: Jun 19

If you don't define success on your terms, others will define it for you by default. You'll find yourself chasing the next thing and never able to truly feel successful. If you're ready to truly understand what success means for you, this article is your step by step process.

There's even a free guide so you can take action immediately. Use the form below to get the free guide.


**This was also a podcast episode (episode #194. Use the player below if you'd prefer to listen to this message.


Why Defining Success Is Critical As An Accidental Entrepreneur

Simply put: if you don't define success for yourself, others will do it for you.

This will happen by default and you won't even know it's happening and that's exactly what happened to me. I didn't realize it at the time but I had allowed others to define success for me and the moment I had my ah-ha moment was when I was aiming for the magical "6-figure" mark in business.

"Everyone talks about hitting 6-figures or 7-figures so it gets stuck in your mind as this is what success means. A number in the bank account. Don't get me wrong I hope I and you hit whatever number we want to hit in our business but is the number the measure of success?" - Amanda McKinney

Maybe a number is your measure of success and that's great. Or maybe your measurement of success is something else and that's great too. The key is that you know YOUR measurement of success.

Chances are you've never defined success on your own terms and I say this with confidence because of how many people I've interviewed on this topic that haven't done this. From people who just started their business to others who have been in business for many years, none of them had a solid, quick answer.

They all had an answer after they thought about it but it wasn't something that people spend time doing. We spend time setting goals but we don't define success.

Goals Are Not Your Definition Of Success As An Entrepreneur

When I realized this, my world shifted. I realized that for years I've set goals (which I still 100% believe in doing!) and treated them as my measurement of success. In doing this I was always moving the goalpost for success further and further away from me and that's no way to feel successful.

"Success is the destination. Goals are milestones we set in order to achieve or continue to achieve success." - Amanda McKinney

If you treat your goals as your measurement of success, you'll be on a never-ending journey because as soon as you reach one goal, you'll set another. And if you're like me, you won't even stop to celebrate the accomplishment of reaching the goal.

Small Business: Image of a person typing on a computer

How To Define Success On Your Terms As An Entrepreneur

Now that you know why it's important, it's time to define success on your terms. This is something that took me almost a year but you can do it in about 20 minutes with this process.

Use the form below to get access to a free guide where you can walk through each step.

Step 1: List 5 Things You Want

This list is only for you and it’s not helpful if you judge yourself for

whatever you write down. The key is to be honest and list 5 things

that come to mind now.

For example:

  • A pool in my backyard

  • $5,000 in revenue this month

  • More followers on social media

Step 2: Write Your "So That" Sentence For Each

We all want something so that we can feel/experience something

else. By asking yourself why you want the items you listed, you’re

more likely to understand what true success feels like for you.

For example:

  • A pool in my backyard so that I can be near water because it calms my nervous system

  • $5,000 in revenue this month so that I can pay all the business expenses and take home $2,000 this month because that allows me to pay off more debt.

  • More followers on social media so that I can feel like things are moving forward in my business.

Step 3: Identify Clues Of What Success Means For You

Now that you know why you want the things on your list, look for

the clues to how success feels for you. We tend to measure success

in numbers because feelings are hard to measure but we want to

find the balance of both. Understand the feeling you’re going for

and then determine the metrics to help you get there.

For example:

  • A sense of peace and calm

  • Less financial stress

  • Forward progress in business

Step 4: Draft Your Definition Of Success

It’s really important to remember that this is just a draft at this

point so there is no pressure to get it perfect. All you have to do is

take what you’ve learned in the previous 3 steps and draft a

sentence based on how you want to feel successful.

Plus, I’ve got a quick template you can use for this exercise:

Success to me is (insert your answer) so that (insert your answer).

For example:

Success to me is contributing $2,000 a month to pay off debt, so

that I have less financial stress, more peace and I’m seeing progress

towards my goals.

Step 5: Write Your Definition Of Success Every Day For 30 Days

Since it’s hard to write a sentence in 5 minutes that you’ll feel great

with, I suggest that you write your definition every day for 30 days.

During this time you can adjust your sentence as needed so it

better reflects the words you use and your true definition of


Take Away Message / Action

Draft your definition of success because if you don't, others will define success for you by default. You won't even know it's happening and you will find yourself in an endless loop of constantly reaching for something and not feeling successful even if you reach what you're aiming for.

Draft your definition of success and write it every day for 30 days and adjust it along the way. Remember that your definition of success will evolve over time so think of it like you've written it on a whiteboard instead of writing it in stone.

Until next time give yourself permission to define success on your terms and grace along the way. I'll talk to you soon!

Ep. 194: Step-By-Step Process Of Defining Success On Your Terms

"If you don't define success on your terms, someone else will."

- Amanda McKinney


Unapologetically Chase Your Definition Of Success

Image of book: Why Not You? An Accidental Entrepreneur's Guide To Success

Now that you've drafted your definition of success, it's time to chase that definition unapologetically.

If you'd like to explore this concept even more, my book Why Not You? An Accidental Entrepreneur's Guide To Success is waiting for you.

Defining success is just one chapter but in the book we will explore many other things that help you create your Y.O.U. Promise that becomes your guide to unapologetically chasing success for you.

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