No B.S. Coaching Advice

What Does Success Mean to You? |

Our definitions may be different yet our desire for success and happiness may be the same.


When I used to work in recruiting, I used to hire people for my team. I would ask them a couple of basic questions. One of them was to ask them, rate these factors for me. I would slide a sheet of paper in front of them. And listed there were these items.

Money, power, happiness, recognition, status, variety, career. When I asked them to rate them in order of importance, with number one being the most important, number seven being the least important, happiness was always rated number one. If someone didn’t put happiness first, I would ask them to explain why they didn’t. That’s because 97% of people I would give this little quiz to listed it first.

Then, there were the people who would put Money very high on their list. And I was just really concerned about items two, three and four because, like I said, happiness always showed up first. I remember one person who I interviewed with who put money number two. “This is a salesperson,” I thought to myself. In recruiting, when you’re hiring entry-level people, as we often did, you want to hire people who are money motivated.

So, I first asked him about happiness, because I was curious. And then I said, “I see you listed money second. What does a lot of money mean to you?”

Then, he replied by saying, “Well, I think I’d buy a used car and fix it up.” I paused for a second and realized that his definition of a lot of money and mine were very different.

I bring this up because of the idea of success and what success means to you. I don’t have a value judgment about your choices, nor you should have any about mine.

I will tell you that if you can define what success looks like to you, you will find yourself working toward that end and being much more effective. You will be happier as you hit some of the milestones in your progress. Don’t compare yourself to celebrity. For them, they want fame; they want recognition. They want that kind of admiration and attention. . .  Most of the time. Sometimes they want to be left alone, of course.

But for you, what does success look like and how will you know that you’ve achieved it? Start defining that for yourself and whatever your answer is both fine and can be changed.

Your goal is to be happy and successful in your life, right? Someone else’s definition shouldn’t matter to you unless of course, it’s a wife, husband or partner and you need to be in sync with one another in this respect.

But it does start with you. If you are miserable doing what you do in the drive for success, invariably, you’re going to stick your heels in the ground, and grind that out and resist that because you recognize it’s not making you happy. As much money as you’ll earn, as much recognition as you’ll get if you’re not happy, ultimately, you will sabotage yourself.

Figure it out. What’s going to make you happy That’s not about necessarily your job. It’s about your career. It’s about your life and relationships and family and everything you judge is important.



Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked in recruiting for what seems like one hundred years. He is the head coach for He is the host of “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast,” and “No BS Job Search Advice.”

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