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Defining Your Own Success

Defining Your Own Success

I work across two industries in which success is marketed as the most important part of what we do. With blogging, discussions around numbers of visitors and unique views become the focus of most get togethers. In building, discussions around subcontractors and the value of contracts are how your success is measured. But why?

Why do we allow others to define our success, why are numbers and values used to define us?

On my recent trip to the ProBlogger conference I watched and learned from some of the worlds top bloggers. I listened to what they had to say, I was in awe of the amount of social media followers they had, by their lengthy email subscriber lists, by their huge amount of unique views per month. I left the conference feeling quite defeated, really low. I felt as though after putting so many hours into what I do each week, I was still on treading water.

By comparison I have a very low amount of followers in every aspect of my blog. I haven’t cracked my first 1000 Facebook fans, still only with 2200 Instagram and I have quite a low readership. But I am OK with that.

I chose a long time ago to define my own success. I blog for a very different reason to most people. I rarely accept sponsored posts as I do not need to make money from my blog. My interest comes in the form of reaching the right reader for me. I want to educate and inspire. My aim has always been to use my blog to build a digital profile for myself, The Builder and our company. My aim was to define to our clientele the exact kind of work we are looking for, and in these endeavours, I am successful, in fact very successful. But if I let the general blogging world define me with their big numbers and followers, I would be a very small fish indeed.

Defining success is a little like the comparison game,when we look to others for inspiration, we will nearly always fall short within ourselves.

I strongly encourage you to take you power back, and define your own success. For some of us, a successful day may mean making it through to dinner time, for others it may be managing a multi-million dollar business, but when defined correctly both are as successful for the people involved. This theory is not to be used as a cop out, quite the opposite. It is meant to empower us to find out own success in the every day, to take a little time out to understand exactly what your aims are. Define them, then work hard at whatever it is to reach them.


We are all capable for such great things, and for each of us that greatness looks very different, and that’s ok!

Tell me all about your version of success? What does it look like for you? Do you feel you live in the shadows of others?

Nicole xxx


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  1. I really needed to read this today. In fact, I think I really need to read this every day. It’s so easy to get sucked into the number crunching of blogging but the irony is, the real business of success cannot be measured because it’s so much more than numbers. I’m in awe of what you’ve achieved here and it’s a wealth of resourceful inspiration. Love your work, lady!

    1. Thank you Sammie, you are so very kind. It is easy to get caught up in the numbers of apparent success, but if we were to follow the ideals of success set by others, our lives would be much sadder. xx

  2. Success is such a tricky thing isn’t it. As part of my recovery one of the things I have to work on is how I define myself. I have a tendency to chuck it all in if I don’t think I will be the very best. An example might be why bother writing a book if it isn’t going to be a New York Times best seller and save the world! My therapist said to me that my writing needs to be for me and that if I never know the impact it has on others then that has to be enough. This is something I really need to get my head around but I am trying.
    Of course I want to be successful who doesn’t, but perhaps being successful is some days just making it through the day!

    1. Yes, Yes, YES!! This is so true, if we measure by the standards of others, I don’t think we can truly find happiness. I am so glad you are writing for you xx

  3. Gosh I’m really surprised you dont have more numbers following you. I only follow 5 other bloggers . I find your blogs helpful and informative as we always seems to be doing renovations on some house or investment. I actually really enjoy the non sponsored aspect. As I am a reader and not a blogger , I am getting a bit sceptical of whats “real” and what someone has been paid to say/do or wear. Keep up an enjoyable blog.

    1. Thank you Angela, I love having you as a reader and really appreciate your feedback. One thing I can promise, is that I will ALWAYS let my readers and followers know when content is sponsored, in any way. I too have a real issue with others not revealing where exactly they stand. Personally I wish always to be credible and transparent. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. xx

  4. Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES! Agree with you 100%.
    Success for me is striving to do the best I can do with whatever I take on. Whether that is in business, life, writing, blogging. Of course with the business side of things there are numbers and metrics to meet to keep the business viable, but personal success can be monitored differently. And for me, personal success, is much more rewarding than any figure or number.

    1. I actually think that even business success can be defined by your own take on it. For example we have a subbie who defines his own success by being able to work for no more than 3 days a week. This is success for him as it allows him to spend more time with his family. If he were trying to achieve numbers, this would be an impracticable success for him. We are all so very different.

  5. I think people would be shocked if I told them my blog stats. I have never been a high stats blogger. But I also don’t need to be. Even more than that, I am not a quantitative person so numbers do not hold meaning for me. If I got 10x the amount of views but had less interaction and feedback, I would feel worse. I know each statistic is a person, but that in itself is not as valuable to me as talking to people.

    1. I thin you’ve nailed it right there. Having readers who put value on what I say, enough to take time to comment, is exactly my marker of success. xx

  6. Yes!!!

    I was just working on a post this morning about defining your own life- success, niches, all the things that we need to take on board but then define them for ourselves. This is so important xx

    1. I totally agree and cannot wait to read your post. xx

  7. I totally agree Nicole. We each need to define our own success. We can’t go by the definition of others. We don’t want to fall into the comparison trap. I too have low numbers as far as followers and stats and all that jazz, but you know what – so what! I also felt a bit deflated after my first ProBlogger conference. I realised how BIG some bloggers were and how very, very little me and my blog are. Did I want to be BIG though? I’m a quiet, introverted person and I’m not 20 or 30 like a lot of others. I sometimes tend to forget that. I’m at a different stage of life to many other bloggers. I’m in my 50’s now and I’m winding down somewhat and my blog is not about making money (though admittedly making ‘some’ would be handy), its primarily about sharing what I’ve learnt over my 50+ years with others and connecting with others and indulging my love of writing, photography and creativity. xo

    1. I agree Min, and have always felt one of the biggest differences between me and many other bloggers is that I do not need (or really want) to make money from my blog. I did need to build and digital profile for our company, which was one of my markers of success. It is sure a freeing way to be blogging. xx

  8. I agree, it’s very important to define your own success. I blog to connect with people and as a creative outlet. I don’t need huge numbers to do that, but it is nice if at least a few people read along! ?

    1. That is true Bec, I must admit, I would be upset if no one was reading ?

  9. I used to define my success (until very recently) by the roles I had in education and how they gave me some status. I now define success as living each day the best way I can. There is nothing like the reality check of retirement and no longer having a ‘career’ for this to happen. Great post. I am so much in agreement with run your own race and be true to yourself. However, I did get caught up in status and success in my career because I was using external validation to define me. Now, I look in the mirror and hope I smile back!!

    1. You are totally right Denyse, it is all about running your own race. That said, I think it is totally normal to get caught up in societies version of success. xx

  10. Wah! I wrote a long comment this morning and it disappeared into cyberspace! I think I really needed to this post today, in fact, I probably need to read it every day! I don’t think success can always be measured in numbers and stats, and neither can our worth. I’m in awe of what you have achieved here on the blog and indeed, what you’ve achieved off it, you can do amazing things and you’re doing them! Love your work, lady!

    1. Found you, you have yourself hidden in spam! Pleased to have you back. Thank you again for your lovely comments, having supporters like you make my day xx

  11. Great post Nicole. I’m like you, low on stats in my blog, in fact views have gone down in the last few months as I’ve blogged less. But I’ve learned not to worry – I see other people putting a lot more effort into their blogging/commenting/working with sponsors/social media and I’m happy to be where I’m at with a writing outlet and opportunity to connect with other bloggers and readers, while I balance the other things in my life (as you do with your business and kids). It is funny because I have just taught my 11th yoga class for the week (I regularly teach 6-7 but have been helping out by filling in). I’m exhausted! Plus I’ve been doing my new part time job 18-20 hours per week. We can let numbers define us (for me how many classes, how many students – even yoga teachers count) or as you say we can count our own success in how good we feel.

    1. Kathy!! You must be exhausted!! You are right, there are times in which numbers actually play a very important part in our success, for me it’s essential that those numbers are defined by me though xx

  12. I think you and I are on the same page, Nicole. In the early days I used to fret about stats, and I still do sometimes when I let myself get off track. Similar to you, my blog is an online profile of my work and has led me to so many opportunities with my career. It is so important when you’re defining success to not compare yourself to everyone else and to just run your own race. #teamIBOT

    1. So true Renee. Running your own race can be hard, but is so rewarding especially when it comes to the measures of success. xx

  13. For the first time ever I went to an event a few weeks ago and someone straight out asked me my following. I was shocked. Maybe I live in a bubble, I like my bubble, I like when nobody asks so I don’t have to think about it. I think I have watched you grow and grow lady, that is success. x

    1. Thank you my sweet Karin! Um, cannot believe that someone would be so brash as to ask your numbers straight out. Not sure that is a conversation for anyone other than a brand wanting to work with you. I love my bubble, and I think the whole point in life is to find your own bubble and be content. xx

  14. I hadn’t checked my stats until this week when I had to update my media kit and I was excited to see the growth in numbers. But numbers can dip and change. For me, success has been in the form of opportunities that have come my way through my blog. Opportunities I wouldn’t have received if I hadn’t started writing my blog. Your post is a good reminder to forget about the figures and remember the why on why we write and do what we do.

    1. Opportunities are where it’s at! That’s the gold for me. The people I have met, the places it has taken me and the opportunity to create my own digital profile. xx

  15. Each of our versions of success are so different, yet we are often led to believe it looks a certain way. My definition has to do with whether my writing is fulfilling a personal need to be creative while not taking anything away from my family life.

    1. Perfect Robyna, that is a fantastic measure. I think it helps if we all take the time occasionally to remember why we do what we do. xx

  16. As you know I’ve got less time to indulge in my blog because of real work, but then again I have enjoyed a little detour into the blogging world, I would not have met YOU if I hadn’t done some blogging. However, it’s likely I’ll refocus my efforts in 2017! xx

    1. I am so grateful for the friends I have made through blogging. So very excited to hear you might be able to squeeze in a bit more in the new year xx

  17. This is a timely post for me, as I’ve been thinking a lot about my business and what success in that area means to me. I’m going to be working with a mentor next year to hopefully help with defining what that success looks like and how I can go about achieving it. In terms of blogging, I made peace with the fact that I was never going to be a traditionally “successful” blogger a few years ago and it really took the pressure off. Now I’m free to blog for me, and not worry about the stats and the money and it’s such a nice feeling ?

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