#014: Success – What Is It, and How Do I Achieve It? [Podcast]


Success: What Is It, and How Do I Achieve It? | Strategic Living Podcast with Brian Holmes

  • What is success, really?
  • How does one know when they have become successful?
  • Is success for everyone, or just a select few?
  • Is it measured by money, fame, status, how many people follow you on Facebook, Twitter, etc.?

On this episode, we are going to look at these and other questions about SUCCESS.

Scriptural Principle:

Matthew 16:25-27

25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 

Joshua 1:8

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.


Success – a word that is often misunderstood; a state that few ever arrive at; a reality that few ever experience. Many strive for it, but few ever find it. Many think they know what it is, but when the get to the end, they realize that what they thought was success did not bring them joy, fulfillment, or happiness.

The dictionary defines success as:

  • The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors
  • The attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like
  • A successful performance or achievement
  • A person or thing that is successful

I suppose that any of these could be true, however, I have come to believe that success means something different to every person. To one person, driving a certain kind of car could mean the attainment of success. To another, performing on Broadway might constitute success. To yet another, starting a company, building a business, or the creation of wealth. My take is that success (or at least its meaning) can be rather subjective. For example, is Tiger Woods successful? I suppose if you measure success by his status in the golf world, his endorsements, or his annual salary … maybe he is. Is General Petraus successful? I guess if you measure success by his rank, accomplishments, leadership ability, or his service to his country, maybe he is. Was Howard Hughes successful? I suppose if you measure success by wealth generation, aviation accomplishments, or business leadership, he was. What about the man or woman who has climbed the corporate ladder, is at the top of their game, or they have built a successful business. Their ‘job’ is what they live for, but the rest of their world is a mask, a ‘pretend’ projection with no real substance or health. What about the pastor or spiritual leader who has a big church, large television following, tons of speaking engagements? On the outside, it seems as though he really has it together. But often, his marriage is falling apart, his children are hurting and have followed a destructive path, his own addictions are eroding away at his soul. Success? I’m not really sure.

Please hear me, I am not judging or criticizing, because I too have a story. What I am saying is this … at the end of the day, what, really, is the meaning of success? Are we so driven to perform for someone else’s expectations or some culture’s prescribed demands that we sell our soul for what has been CALLED success, but is merely a prison?

Someone once said to me that you only need TWO things in life to be successful … Relationships and Resources. If you have to choose only one, or, if you must choose between these two, always choose relationships. Healthy and Godly relationships will always open the door to the resources one needs to be successful. Therefore, I believe that you can all the money and possessions in the world, and yet, if you have no meaningful relationships in your life, you are bankrupt and destitute. This is not to say that it is an either/or proposition. You can have both; but money and things without healthy and Godly relationships with which to share them is not success

Tiger Woods understands this. Forbes.com listed Tiger Woods 2009 income as $110 million. In November of that same year, however, the National Enquirer published an article about Tiger’s infidelity and apparent sex addiction, and Tiger’s world began to unravel. On the outside, one would judge that Tiger was the epitome of success, yet, on the inside his private life was in shambles, and without question, he was an angry, confused, and very miserable person. At the end of the day, Tiger lost many friends, hurt many people, and lost his wife and children, treasures more precious than any amount of money or fame. Success? Not really

So What is Success?

 Let me begin by sharing with you some thoughts on success from some great thought leaders of history:

Winston Churchill:
“Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”

Deepak Chopra:

“Success in life could be defined as the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals.”

Jim Rohn:

“Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

Richard Branson:

“It is the satisfaction of doing it for yourself and motivating others to work with you in bringing it about. It is about the fun, innovation, creativity with the rewards being far greater than purely financial.”

Orison Swett Marden:

“When a man feels throbbing within him the power to do what he undertakes as well as it can possibly be done, this is happiness, this is success.”

Zig Ziglar:

“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.”

George Sheehan:

“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.”

Wilfred Peterson:

“Success is focusing the full power of all you are on what you have a burning desire to achieve.”

Thomas Edison:
“Success is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

Woody Allen:

“Seventy percent of success in life is showing up.”


“God gave us two ends: one to sit on and one to think with. Success depends on which one you use. Heads you win; tails, you lose.”


  • Success begins with a relationship with the One who created you in His image; a real relationship with God
  • Secondly, success requires that one comes to a clear and definitive image of who THEY are
  • If a person is not clear on who God has called them to be, they will live their life trying to be something else
  • Success depends on relationships; father, mother, spouse, children, mentor, coach, friend, pastor, etc.
  • No man is an island unto himself
  • Success is the realization of happiness and joy
  • Success is a life whose purpose has been fulfilled
  • Success is arriving at the end, and being more than satisfied with the journey and the result
  • Success is leaving the world a better place than when you arrived
  • Success is touching a life, and showing love to our fellow man
  • Success is giving
  • Success is leaving an inheritance for your children and your children’s children
  • Success is being confortable in your own skin, and living life in a way that demonstrates your commitment to purpose
  • Earl Nightingale shared a definition of success that I have chosen to adopt myself. He says that “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal. If a man is working towards a predetermined goal and knows where he is going, that man is a success. If he’s not doing that, he’s a failure. Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”
  • Success is the achievement of your God-given purpose and assignment

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes that Success is …

  • To laugh often and much
  • To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children
  • To earn the approbation of honest critics, and endure the betrayal of false friends
  • To appreciate beauty
  • To find the best in others
  • To give of one’s self
  • To leave the world a bit better, whether by healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition
  • To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation
  • To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived
  • This is the Meaning Of Success!



Next week, I will be talking about, ‘Wholeness: How To Be Healed, Transformed, and Restored’.

Be sure to leave us a question at www.BrianHolmes.com and we will do our best to answer it in the show.


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I trust that something we’ve shared today has challenged you to pursue God’s very best for your life, be healed from the past, be transformed in your mind and heart, and be activated to fulfill your unique purpose and destiny.

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“Until next time, remember … You were made in His image, designed for a purpose, and are destined for greatness. God Bless!