What is success?

Every time I’ve been interviewed about Philly Future, inevitably the question comes, “what is your business model?”. This is where I pause, mention the site currently has none, and that one day I expect it will emerge. I hypothesize on a few ideas, but lay down we’ll only go with one if it benefits the community. The bottom line is I have no concrete idea what that model is yet.

Admitting you don’t know something is sign of weakness in some circles. I can tell in these interview situations, I’ve made myself and Philly Future look bad. Since Philly Future, is not a big, well known, “grassroots” (with millions of investment dollars) service, this makes it harder to get taken seriously by some. I’m blessed to have it associated with a terrific team which doesn’t think so short sighted, and with a growing community that is pushing the boundaries of what it can do.

I’ve always felt admitting I don’t know something has always been a source of strength. An opportunity so that I can learn and grow.

One thing about success I’ve recently come to peace with is that cash alone can’t define it. I recently mucked up a generous offer, with a team I respect and want to help, because I wouldn’t walk away from Philly Future, was already quite happy (and challenged, I have much to learn) where I am, and didn’t want to sacrifice the already meager time I have with my family.

Past a certain point, past the struggles of poverty, once you get to a place where you can realistically dream of where you want to go or experience in life, cash, and the struggles to find it, can drag you down and will distract you from what’s really important.

Shelley Powers, in a post about BlogHer, says:

I won’t write on BlogHer again. No truly, this time I won’t. I would ask that the company remove the tagline “Where the Women are”, because it really isn’t all that true anymore. Is it? Still, if they don’t, such is life.

I also wish, and I mean it, much success for the organization. I have no illusions that I will change anyone’s viewpoint with this writing. Perhaps the emphasis on women’s purchasing power can, this time, be used as a weapon for social change. In this, I hope they succeed.

I’m going a different path, though. One that doesn’t measure success based on ads, links, and revenue. And I’m not going to look back.

Wish more thought that way in the world. But everyone is selling something aren’t they? It’s human nature. Shoot, Shelley is selling something to us in her post. A set of ideas and ideals. Take them or leave them.

Success, for many, seems to be about fame, fortune, power, and inclusion in some exclusive group. Is it human nature that we subconsciously exercise the 48 Laws of Power and use them on a daily basis? A question to ask yourself is what is your effective truth?

It’s not success when we let these drivers define success for us. It’s something all together different.

2 thoughts on “What is success?

  1. financial success is nice, but not at the cost of killing your soul and giving up what you believe in. i quit my stupid ad sales job after a year at a generally cool place to work because it just wasn’t for me. i hated gonig to work everyday and when i quit, my boss completely understood and it was better for myself and the sales team.

    my situation is very different from yours though, taking into account a wife and a new beautiful baby girl. sure, sacrifices will have to be made down the line, but not if it goes against too many things you firmly believe in and would ultimately lead to time away from people who are important to you and unhappiness.

  2. i agree with ya man. it’s a delicate balance, but too many sacrifice their souls for a little fame and fortune.

    fuck that.

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