Does Money Equal Success?

A few nights ago, I had an interesting conversation with a friend about what defines success in business. It raised the question, “Are you more successful than someone else just because you’ve made more money?”

Five years ago, I was the poster child for “success in business.” I was working in Chicago in a highly coveted corporate job with a 6-figure salary. I had a killer condo, traveled often, and to the external world I appeared to be living the dream.

But the truth was that my work simply didn’t light me up. I wasn’t passionate about it. I hated the office politics, the lack of accountability of my peers, and the sense that I wasn’t contributing to the world in a meaningful way.

No amount of money could have enticed me to stay because my definition of success was something else. My definition of success was owning a business, being able to travel for fun (not work), and sure, being able to earn a great living in the process.

No question, we must have money. Money is not everything, but it’s something. It’s important because it allows us to live & experience the world around us. And I imagine your definition of success probably includes earning a good living.

But I also imagine that you see success as something way bigger, something beyond your bank account. Maybe your definition of success is being able to take a month off from work to vacation in the Bahamas. Or it’s having your work published in the New York Times. Or it’s building a school in Kenya for kids with little access to education. Or it’s have the flexibility in your schedule to drop your kids off & pick them up from school every day. Or it’s any number of other incredible things that mean something to you.

Just because you’re earning a great living doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a wild success. Because at the end of the day, it’s about following your truth. It’s about defining what success means for you and pursuing that with all of your mind, body, and soul. And oddly enough, when we do that the money tends to follow.

So what’s your definition of success? Dream big. Pursue it with gusto. I’ll be right here rooting you on.


Hilary Johnson
Founder / Hatch Tribe

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