What does success mean to you?

Is success owning the fanciest car? Is success buying a house on the water? Getting that corner office in the company you’ve put your blood, sweat, and tears into for years? What is the definition of success to you? How much does it differ from your friends; your family? Your coworkers?

Success is, by definition, a favorable or desired outcome. Many think of it as the attainment of wealth or favor.

My summer was a crazy one. Besides changing jobs, which you’ll learn more about in another blog posting coming soon, I had the chance to lead a group of co-workers through a program called P3. P3 was, essentially, the best thing that has happened to me since starting my professional career almost five years ago.

What is it? P3, which stands for “purpose, passion, and principles,” was started at Whorton Business School as a way to get the conversation flowing between students around the idea of success.

Being a participant, and then a facilitator, was a fantastic experience.

We began by talking about our families and how those closest to us helped define success while we were growing up. For me, as a student, the only measure of success was getting good grades. My parents were both school administrators, and my siblings all became teachers. I had to prove myself. Some of my peers saw success as being active members of church groups or having lots of friends.

Our families guided us and the moment we were out on our own, that all changed. Rules were gone. We no longer had that safety tape guiding us on a set path.

The sessions then began to dive more into the idea of happiness and how happiness can be a measure of success. We talked about the various things we were strong at, where we struggled, and what we hope to accomplish in 15 or so years.

Each week was a different prompt, a different reading in one of two books. We looked at various articles online or shared new ideas through Slack to keep the conversations going between sessions.

In total, I participated for two quarters of the year. Defining success still wasn’t easy for me… until just the other day.

I was sitting at home after a long day at the new office, watching the news and eating dinner, when an email popped up from a former P3 participant that I had facilitated. The email was short and sweet… a simple thank you for bringing her through the program and just being a part of the discussion. She said that she continued to apply what she had learned from P3 in her day-to-day and that, to me, was the moment that I knew I had been successful. For me, I had been successful as a facilitator and as a participant. It felt amazing, and it lifted my spirits.

I later learned that there had been hundreds of layoffs from the company and that it had been a terrible day for everyone. I am so grateful that I was able to be a light during such a trying time and that is what success means to me.