by sonja thorsvik

The Real Way For Entrepreneurs To Determine Success

I firmly, fully, and completely believe that everyone needs to stop what they’re doing and figure out exactly what success means to them before pursuing any more opportunities or checking off any more to-do list items.

Defining your own success will pay dividends in your future growth, happiness, and income if you let it.

You can’t determine what success means to you without knowing what drives and fulfills you, both personally and professionally.

My own definition of success is this: 

I know I’m successful when I can financially support my current lifestyle, donate, and invest for my future. When my friends and family still call me, even after I’ve been traveling for a while or in the rabbit hole of business creation. When I can wake up and make time for myself by going on daily walks and working out.

Success is ever-evolving for me, too, and it probably is for you, as well. My version of success today looks different than it did 10, five, or even one year ago. It’s when you’ve tried on all the different versions of yourself, and you get to a point where there’s only one left that makes sense to pursue. But, how do you GET there? How do you really nail down what your own definition of success looks like in this period of your life?

I’ll walk you through the three things to ask yourself to really drive down into your own personal definition of success. And, spoiler alert, it looks different for everyone. So, your parent’s and your friend’s and your colleagues’ versions of success for themselves likely look vastly different from your own. And—others’ expectations FOR you can’t dictate your definition of success. That, my friend, is a recipe for disaster (and major dissatisfaction).

Instead, dig into your gut intuition and write down your answers to these questions to really get a grip on how YOU define success.

1. “What Do You Most Often Daydream About & Envision For Your Future?”

There was a time when I was stuck working in an office and dreamt of the day I could travel anywhere I wanted and fill my passport with new destinations. To me, travel was the ultimate sign of freedom, and my work hasn’t always supported that path of opportunity.

Flexibility and financial freedom to explore new places and experience new cultures was the ultimate sign of success for me, and so I began building a career and life that could sustain that vision. Maybe, for you, you see yourself as a CEO in a corner window office. Maybe you see yourself running a business from your laptop as you raise a bunch of kiddos.

Let your daydreams drive your definition of success because where your mind wanders is where your heart’s intentions truly lie.

2. “What Do You Want To Be Said About You When You’re Gone?”

So often, we get caught up in the day-to-day struggles, responsibilities, and rat race that we forget to consider the bigger picture: the legacy we’ll leave behind one day when we’re gone. What do you want to be known for? What do you want your loved ones to remember and pass on about you?

For me, I want to be known as a committed friend, even when my life is busy and on the go. I want to be known as someone who is committed to my health and well-being just as much as I’m committed to impacting and serving others well. I want to be seen as adventurous, ambitious, fun, and also balanced, and thoughtful.

What characteristics do you hope your family and friends remember most fondly about you?

3. “What Factors Or Values Contribute To Your Success?”

Our values dictate so much more than how we raise families or interact in relationships. They directly impact our goals, progress, careers, and futures. What values are most important to you as you navigate through all the pieces of your life?

A few of my dearest-held values include freedom, health, compassion, flexibility, and purpose. You might have totally different values that drive what you do and how you do it, like:

  • Security
  • Passion
  • Adventure
  • Spirituality
  • Spontaneity
  • Confidence
  • Popularity
  • Personal growth
  • Family
  • Education
  • Independence
  • Loyalty

So many different factors play into our individual versions of success, so get really gut-honest with yourself about what drives, motivates, inspires, and excites you to keep going day after day.

How To Create Your Definition Of Success

Using the questions above and the template below, I want you to piece together your personal definition of success.

“Success to me means I can pursue [the dreams you envision for your future]. I know I’m successful because my loved ones see me as [the description of how you hope people remember you after you’re gone]. And the values that drive my success are [your top values] because [reason they’re important to you].”

Use this definition as your guide for any big decisions and as a reminder of what you want and deserve in your future.

When we have a firm understanding of where we’re going, what we want, and why we want it, it makes it SO much easier to manifest the future of our dreams. Your idea of success shouldn’t rely on anyone else’s opinions or expectations.

It’s built from your own goals, desires, and values, and it’s a guide on how to create the most fulfilling version of your life possible. Knowing your idea of success is one of the biggest gifts for growth and forward motion you could give yourself. Get to know yours, and then get going on your destiny ahead.




I started my own entrepreneurial career in 2012 scaling up from $0 a year to over $100,000 each and every year. I firmly and wholeheartedly believe there are ways for all of us self-employed entrepreneurs to reach six-figures and beyond and I'm unapologetically here to show you how I do it so you can make your next best move. Let's go.

foUNDER of gigging for gold
i like my coffee black

Obsessed With Increasing Your Odds of success