Dear Claudia,

I’m trying to sort something out and I’d like your thoughts about it. I’m a classic Type-A personality: I like to be in charge, and expect to succeed at everything I do. My family was pretty poor when I was growing up; my parents struggled to feed us kids, and lots of times we went without. As the oldest, I worked three jobs through high school and college to help out; it was difficult, but I graduated with honors, and eventually started working in a recruiting agency. I have been there for 5 years, a top producer with an income to match. So what’s my problem? About a year ago I started really wondering what it means to succeed, and how a person can ever know if they are truly successful. My question is, what do you think is the definition of success? Is it the result of hard work and overcoming frustration and suffering? Or some thing that comes from more abstract concepts like happiness, love and joy? How do you know if you have achieved it?


Dear Struggling,

You have certainly asked the 7-figure question, and many go through life without ever finding a good answer to it. I think you’re ahead of the crowd though, because you already know what you don’t know; imagine if you were oblivious to your quest for success and spent your life randomly, with only a vague sense of unease that there might be something more out there for you...

Read the rest of my response and add comments of your own here...


In my day job, I’m the Head of Products for Improved Experience, where we help employers use feedback to measure and manage competitive advantage in hiring and retention. Learn more about us here.

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