Defining Success: Why Millennials Shouldn’t Discount Themselves

I’ve been thinking a lot about success and what it means to be successful recently. Specifically, the way society defines a successful person vs. what I define my own success to be. I Googled “successful” and you know what I found?

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Yes, that’s correct: “About 1 BILLION results in 0.54 seconds”. Now that my friend’s is how you create insecurity among the masses. Which way is up, who’s right, who’s wrong? – too much noise! Obviously, these results aren’t all singing a different tune – but you get the picture.

Anyways – the top hit for successful is “accomplishing an aim or purpose or having achieved popularity, profit, or distinction”. Okay, I can get on board with that. At least that’s how I myself would have defined success not long ago.

Here is the problem. If you haven’t yet accomplished your purpose, what does that make you? Do you know what the antonym for successful is? Here are a few according to Merriam-Webster:

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 Pretty grim, right? Shit, for most millennials its nearly impossible to have met the definition of successful at this point in our lives! Success isn’t a sprint my friends – it’s a long, grueling, painful marathon. A marathon that I am only now starting to appreciate.

I am 25 years old. By most standards, that’s pretty damn young. In 25 years, I have lived in 3 different cities, worked 8 different jobs – 2 of which for companies I founded or co-founded, lost a parent to cancer, and married the woman I’ll spend the rest of my life with. Call me crazy, but I feel like I’ve done a lot of living and learning in my first 25 years – and it’s hard to believe that by sciences standards I’ll have another 3 go-arounds at the first 25 years.

I’m a quarter of the way through my marathon (fingers crossed) and I am nowhere near the definition of successful. I doubt that I’m alone in this. One thing I do know is that although I don’t see myself as successful by society’s standards, I refuse to consider myself unsuccessful or a failure.

Instead of viewing success as the long-term goal or the ‘finish line’ per say, maybe we should start to view the marathon as thousands of short races? Every day we are all capable of accomplishing an aim or purpose that we set out for ourselves. Not just in business, but in every area of our lives. I believe if we start focusing on making every day a success, the “popularity, profit, and distinction” will reveal itself in abundance.

I’m not sure about you, but there is nothing I despise more than being discredited or overlooked because of my age. As a financial advisor at a large firm in Cincinnati, I was attempting to give advice to clients twice my age every day and I’ll tell you what, I never felt smaller or less significant. That’s why I started TruWealth – so that I could share my life experiences with my peers. Now I feel successful every time I step into the office I opened with my partner, Andrew. I feel successful every time someone is referred to us because of the REAL trusting relationships we have built with our clients. I feel successful every time my wife looks at me with those eyes that say “I’m proud of you for blazing your own trail”. I’m starting to view being 25 as a massive benefit. I have an opportunity to make an incredible impact and I have plenty of time to do it.


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