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  • Writer's pictureNikki Trotter, MS, M.A., SHRM-CP, ACC

The Marks and Measures of Success

Updated: Sep 18, 2022

I am making $200,000.00 a year,

but I don’t feel successful!

I’m a Sr. level leader being fast-tracked to be CEO,

but I don’t feel successful!

I’ve recently won several awards and accolades for my performance

and yet I still don’t feel successful!

I look successful! But I don’t feel successful!

I feel 100% unfulfilled; in my life and my job because I’ve spent most of my life “working” and not enough time “sowing” the seeds of my calling so that I can live a life with purpose in a destiny delivered and a dream fulfilled.

This story represents many of my coaching clients!

We get so caught up in the external markers and indicators of success that we fail to define what career success means for us.

In a changing workforce, volatility is constant, uncertainty is present, complexity is concrete, and ambiguity is acceptable; our definition of career success must have more substance and demand a higher level of self-trust, self-awareness, and self-direction.

Success is not one-size-fits-all, and this should never be our approach. It is not my role as a coach to tell my clients what success is for them. However, it is my job to help them explore their internal and external life experiences to identify what “success” means to them. In doing so, I have helped my clients discover that their journey to success is not solely based on those external markers. On the contrary, their success has been attributed to what means the most to them; the not-so-tangible, not-so-measurable, and not-so-objective things. And in the end, they have determined that success is defined as the things in their lives that are most valuable, subjective, and intrinsic.

If you want to get an idea of what a "new definition of success" would look like for you, that means you could seek to:

  • Experience a positive life-changing event vs. seeking change in a new position.

  • Create healthier boundaries vs. Increasing your compensation or financial status.

  • Make an impact for a greater purpose vs. focusing on profits and production.

  • Invest in yourself vs. hoping someone will see you as an investment.

  • Build a legacy of your own vs. playing a part in someone else’s.

  • Celebrate your achievements vs. waiting for a promotion or recognition.

These are just a few definitions, but success could mean so much more for you!

Just as my clients and I have worked to design and conceptualize their definition of success, you must do the same if you want to create a life that matters and has meaning to you; and only you. Because, like beauty, the true definition of success will always be in the eye of the beholder. And if you are in a race to catch someone else’s success or their definition of success, you will never win.

Let me know what you think about this post.

If you are ready to create your definition of success; and achieve it, email me at Or, if you would like more insights and ideas on #career and #leadership, Sign-up for our coaching VIP list at

Nikki Trotter is the Founder and CEO of IO, LLC., a transformational coaching company.

I specialize in coaching professional women in leadership from the front line to the C-Suite.

I help my clients master the art of resilient leadership to take control of their careers with courage, clarity, and confidence.

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