Redefining Success

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What does it mean to be successful?

Success usually brings to mind financial achievement or being number one. Others would define success by the bumper sticker: He who dies with the most toys wins. Some like to think that success is being busy—on the go, racing from one appointment to another, having much to do with too little time to do it.

The problem with these definitions of success is they exact a high cost. The Executive Digest said, “The trouble with success is the formula is the same as the one for a nervous breakdown.” That’s sobering, uncomfortable, and too often true.

Maybe we need to take a look at where we are and where we’d like to be. Maybe the definition of success that we are familiar with is not the correct one.

I’ve looked at success in a new light and have come up with the following acrostic:

Service

There is no such thing as success without service. The secret of success lies in meeting the needs of others. And when we are meeting people’s needs we will discover fulfillment.

Understanding contentment

Let’s not measure success by how much we own or much money we have but by a sense of inner contentment. Real success is always internal, never external.

Character

Character is of greater value than how much money or status we have. A man’s best test of character is revealed in how he treats people around him. So measure your success not by your possessions and achievements. Measure success in the quality of your character and conduct.

Compassion

What really matters is not money, power, and ego but issues of the heart—like compassion, kindness, bravery, generosity, and love. Do you love people more than things?

Excellence

Excellence is not being the best but being your best.

Significance

The popular notion of success has not cut it. A growing number of people yearn for significance more than success. Significance comes by giving ourselves to something that is greater than us and that will outlast us.

Sacrifice

A problem in our society is that we are spending our entire lives looking for something worth living for. It would be better if we found something worth dying for. A young pilot in the RAF wrote just before he went down in 1940, “The universe is so vast and so ageless that the life of one man can only be justified by the measure of his sacrifice.”

My book, Defining Moments: How God Shapes Our Character Through Crisis, takes a fresh look at the hard times that God uses to shape our character. This book offers hope that God can be found in crisis and shows how He turns our struggles into defining moments—opportunities to dramatically transform His people. Click here to claim your copy.

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About Rick Ezell

I am a husband, father, pastor, and writer. This blog is about shaping character, transforming church, and impacting culture. I believe that if one defines their moments then their moments will determine their character and their character will influence their world. I write on personal development, church leadership, and our changing culture. I also write about the resources I am developing and the books I am writing. My goal is to create challenging, relevant, and inspiring content that will help you be a better person, the church be a better parish, and the world a better place. If you are interested in those things, this blog is for you. I have served the church my entire career as a student minister and senior pastor. I studied at Samford University, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (eventually I will get it). I have written eight books. My most recent ones are Chapter 13: The Excellence of Love and Soul Therapy: The Healing Words of Psalm 23. Both are available as eBooks. I have written over 1000 articles for various local, regional, and national publications. I have been married to Cindy for thirty-three years. We have one wonderful daughter. We live in Greenville, SC. In my free time, I enjoy writing, reading, running, tennis, and golf. You can contact me via email or follow me on Twitter or Facebook. This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my employer. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.
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