Defining success: Assess your values as you race for the prize

An entrepreneur’s success is often measured by how quickly the business has grown and how wealthy the owner has become. It’s a shallow way to measure achievement and takes into consideration only the material aspect. We all have our own interpretation of “success.” Here’s mine.

Feeling happiness and contentment

To most, success is determined only by victory, prosperity and fame. The successful man or woman is one who comes in first place, has the biggest house and the most toys, lives in the spotlight and gets all the attention. Certainly these milestones can bring happiness, but they are short-lived. The winner must keep winning or feel the sting of defeat and disappointment. Material possessions provide a temporary thrill but ultimately must be replaced with newer, shinier things. Fame can be more of a curse than a blessing — your privacy and reputation can be compromised. True happiness comes from within and doesn’t rely on the trappings of wealth.

Setting goals and accomplishing them with integrity

Success doesn’t just happen; it is the reward of careful planning, effort, determination and sacrifice. Dreams and visions must give way to more serious ambitions and goals. A football player knows the game is won in the trenches — a team working together, following the game plan, making small gains in order to get all the way down the field. A downhill skier knows the mountain is conquered not by speeding headlong straight down but by concentrating on the 20 or so feet of slope immediately ahead, making calculated and precise turns to reach the bottom. Goals must be clearly thought out and cannot be met without taking the proper steps. And how they’re attained matters — true success is not acquired by handicapping the competition or taking shortcuts. Sportsmanship counts. Accomplish your goals with honesty, integrity and character. That is the mark of genuine success.

Helping others achieve their dreams and goals

The character of a human being is shown in how he or she treats others, and that goes doubly for the prominent and powerful. To achieve success, you relied on the advice, mentorship, teamwork and kindness of others along the way. Perhaps someone in your life helped you turn the corner from struggling to succeeding. Maybe nobody was there to lend a hand, but you know things would have been a little easier if there had been. Be that person for someone who is working on their own story. The blueprint for success should not be exclusive. It’s meant to be shared, to inspire and motivate others.

Accomplishing goals that work for the greater good

The definition of success should include altruism — unselfish concern for the welfare of others. The person who attains power and wealth, but never considers the fortunes of others, is not successful. Your greater good needn’t benefit the entire planet. As the saying goes, “Think globally, act locally.” Success is sweeter when you share the rewards with your family, your employees and your community.

The words of Albert Einstein perfectly sum up my view: “Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”

Michael Jarrett is founder and President of Jarrett Logistics Systems and PackShip USA. Both of Jarrett’s companies have won numerous awards, including the Weatherhead 100, Cascade Capital Growth Award, Inc. 500/5000, The Entrepreneurial Edge Award and NEO Success Award.