Thoughts Over A Cup Of Coffee

What Is Success?

November 10, 2020 Stephen Willette
Thoughts Over A Cup Of Coffee
What Is Success?
Show Notes Transcript

Are you successful?  What determines your level of success?  Who told you you're successful? Join Steve in this episode as he talks about success, what he believes to be the true measurement of success, and how you can be one of the most successful people you know!

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Good afternoon everyone, and thank you for joining me, as well as taking the time to listen.  

It’s a beautiful day here again in upstate New York.  We have been blessed with November days in the mid-sixties to seventies, and I hope you all are taking advantage of the unseasonable weather, if you live in this part of the country.

This is a new podcast and only the second episode.  It’s slowly being released onto all the podcast platforms such as Apple Podcast, Google, Spotify, Amazon, Podchaser, and more.  

The thing about podcasts and what I hear many talk about, is how many listeners a particular show has.  Or what the rating is.  On Apple, and I’m sure others, one might determine how good a show is based on the stars it has.

I honestly think that’s a false way of looking at something.  I don’t necessarily believe that the success of this show is determined by a one-star or five-star rating.  I think the success is determined more by the listeners and if this show is able to inspire, impact, or influence just one person.  

I talk on this show about things that pop into my head when I am sitting and drinking my coffee throughout the day.  Some are simple thoughts; while others are more in depth and occupy my mind throughout the day.  Such is the case with today’s topic.  


We live in a culture that is obsessed with success.  Our culture is constantly telling us to chase after the next best thing.

Buy that new car.

Buy that bigger house.

Get that degree.

Get that promotion.

Get that girl or that guy.

We so often chase after the next best thing, even when there’s nothing wrong with what we have now, just because it’s newer and better.

I can’t tell you how many iPhones I have purchased within the past fifteen or so years, solely because Apple came out with a new one.  A better display, faster processor, better camera, more features, and so on.  

I wonder if my original iPhone would still work.  Who knows, but what I do know, is I have had at least a dozen iPhones since then.

While there’s nothing wrong with having a nice house, a nice car, education and degrees, being promoted, or having fancy titles, none of that truly matters.  Even those with all of this, if they’re honest with themselves and you, would say they want more.  More money only leads to wanting more money.  One promotion only leads to the hunger to be higher up the ladder.  A bigger house is only big enough until you acquire more stuff.  A fancy new car is only fancy until someone dings it with a shopping cart in the parking lot.  

If you visited a tribe in the Amazon jungle or another remote part of the world, they wouldn’t consider themselves poor, unless you told them.

Think about that last point.  A person isn’t rich unless someone tells them they are.  They aren’t successful, unless someone tells them they are, or they hit these imaginary marks laid out by society.  And even then, the terms and what defines those marks can change overnight.  Often times they do.

Success is often related to how much we have in our bank accounts, our stock portfolios, the kind of car we drive, the square footage of our home, the clothes we wear, who we associate with, who are friends are, what our job title is, or how many degrees we have hanging on our wall.  

A thought came to me this morning as I was talking to a long time friend about marriage.  How often is success measured not by our house, but rather inside the four walls of our home?  

How often is success measured by our family?  

How often is our own success measured by our children and our spouse?  

We can be the most successful person when we walk out our front doors each morning, wear nice clothes, drive the nice car, be called the most prestigious titles, yet inside the home we fall short.  We miss the mark on everything that determines whether we are successful to our own family.  

We barely carry the title “Mom” or “Dad.”  

We are strangers to our own family.

We chased what culture would tell us is the “American dream,” or “pinnacle of success,” and we left our family behind in the process.

That beautiful house is just a shell of what inside is nothing but a  hollow home.

Those designer clothes only cover a broken resemblance of our former selves.  

We have chased everything in the name of success, but we failed to guard, protect, and nurture our own families.

What determines your success?

What are you chasing today?

What if we pursued the hearts, minds, and affections of our spouse and children, more than the applause of complete strangers on social media?

What if we gave as much attention to the approval of our family, than we did the “like” on social media?

What if we cared as much about our children following our lead in life, than we did the number of followers on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram?

Are we successful at home?

Have we captured our family’s attention?

Are we chasing after our spouse, or did that pursuit end shortly after the honeymoon?  

One of the greatest things that I believe this year has taught us, is that it’s time to return to some of the basics.  

Return to some of the things that we have gotten away from.

Maybe that is time alone with yourself, reflecting and thinking about the present and the future.

Maybe it’s spending time with family, returning to the dinner table, or turning off the television.  Maybe it’s putting the phones down and engaging in conversation.

Maybe it’s dusting off the Bible and remembering what it was like to pray.  

Maybe it’s spending the weekends disengaged from the drama that unfolds on social media, and instead is focused on doing something that makes you and those around you a better person.  TRUST ME, the same drama that is there on Friday night, will be there on Monday morning!

Maybe it’s volunteering at a local shelter or soup kitchen.  

What determines your success?

What are you chasing?

When you breathed your last breath and folks gather to remember you, what will be said of you?  

Chase those things that have significance even after you die.  

Leave a legacy that can’t be destroyed by a fire or fluctuating economy.

Stop pursuing empty riches.

Stop looking for happiness in hollow halls.

Stop looking for peace in places that will tear you apart.

If you’re listening to this, it’s not too late.

While you have breath in your lungs, and a beat in your heart, you have the opportunity to begin new.  Change direction and begin pursuing real success today.