Amy Rees Anderson

Don’t Allow Others To Define Your Success

I’ve spent the day at a Family Office Summit in Arizona. Knowing I’d be tied up all day I asked my son Dalton if he’d write tonight’s blog post to cover for me. Here’s Dalton’s post

Don’t allow others to define your success (by Dalton Anderson)

Being the son of a successful entrepreneur comes with certain expectations. Not from my own family mind you. I’m extremely blessed to be raised in a family where I’m seen as an individual who has my own life and path to live. No, I’m talking about expectations from the various circles of people I know and love. This isn’t a bad thing by the way. Often the expectations of others have challenged and pushed me to be better than I thought I could be. However, I’ve observed a certain reaction by some (certainly not the majority of my interactions) who seem disappointed when I tell them about the career path I’m on and the goals I have for my future.

In many ways, I’m the odd duck in my family, and I love being the odd one. Pretty much every member of my family has been an entrepreneur in some way, shape, or form. All three women in my family (wife, mom, and sister) have started their own companies. Both my dad and brother-in-law are in the business of making and creating (dad with engineering and woodwork, brother-in-law with videography and production). And then there’s me. I’m – well – I’m funny.

I can give myself some credit. I’m the cheerleader in the family who gets stoked when everyone else does stuff. And let me be clear, I love what I do for employment – content creation – typically in written form.

Well, the other night, I ran into an old friend. After a quick catch-up and “how have you been?” the question was asked, “What are you doing for employment?” I responded that I’m a communications coordinator for a university. The response back was normal and typical, but I felt like there was an unspoken question of, “you’re not an entrepreneur?” Now I fully admit this could’ve been an imagined thing in my own head. Perhaps I have my own internal expectations that I believe are there when they’re not. But since this is my story and not yours, you get to assume that my first assumption is the right one.

After parting ways with friendly goodbyes, I told my wife what I felt had been unspoken by my friend. That led into a conversation where I recognized an important truth. We all have our own beliefs and behaviors that define success. My goals are going to be very different from your goals, and thank heavens for that! I’d hate if we were both trying to recreate the entire Star Wars saga out of Legos! But sometimes, and especially in career goals, we can make the mistake of defining what success should look like for others. I’ve certainly been guilty of this. I’ll probably be guilty of it again. And while we can’t control others, we can definitely control how we define our own success, and not allow others to define it for us.

My goal is creating content that entertains, helps, and motivates others. Finding ways to increase my output of great content drives me. I feel genuine success as I do that. Is that for everyone? Absolutely not! Nor should it be. We need individuals and groups who are motivated by different things!

Don’t let others define what success is for you. Define your own success, and I promise as you work to achieve it, you’ll become a successful individual.

~Dalton Anderson (son of Amy Rees Anderson, author of “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )

1 Comment

  • Heather says:

    Thank you, Dalton! I needed to hear this today, every day. I grew up always hearing: “Why aren’t you like (your brother, you cool cousin)?” It is nice to be validated in my, and other’s uniqueness.

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