How Do You Measure True Success In Life

Success is commonly used in our society, but what does it really mean? 

How do you measure success in life? 

Is it all about wealth, power, and status–or is there more to it than that?

In this article, we’ll define success and explore how to measure your success in life. We’ll explore both internal and external factors that contribute to success and discuss how to strike a balance between them. 

I’ll also share with you a personal development plan to help you establish distinct objectives for both business accomplishments and personal triumphs.

Success isn’t just about accomplishing your goals, it’s also about leading a fulfilling life. As you work to achieve success, it’s essential to prioritize personal growth and enjoy the journey along the way.


What is Success?

First, let’s agree on a solid definition of success. Success can be defined as the achievement of your goals, dreams, and aspirations. It’s the realization of your potential and the ability to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.

It’s a journey, not a destination. 

It can have different meanings to different people—which is why it can be tricky to objectively say that someone has “achieved success.” If you feel successful, however, you’re generally happy with your achievements and where you’re at in life.

Importance of Measuring Success

Measuring success is crucial for tracking progress and staying motivated. Without tracking your success, it’s easy to lose sight of your goals and get off track. Measuring success allows you to celebrate your achievements, learn from your mistakes, and adjust your course as needed.

In this article, we’ll explore how to measure true success in life using a balanced approach. I believe that your own success comes from two types of key performance indicators: internal factors and external factors.

Internal Factors to Measure Success

Internal factors are aspects of your life that are within your control. They contribute to your overall well-being and happiness.

Happiness and Fulfillment

One important internal factor to consider when measuring success is happiness and fulfillment. These two factors include pursuing your passion, having positive relationships, and having a sense of purpose. They’re considered internal factors because your happiness is up to you—it comes from inside.

Pursuing your passion means doing what you love and finding joy in your work, regardless of the amount of money you make at your job. It’s about waking up each day excited to tackle the challenges ahead. When you’re pursuing your passion, work doesn’t feel like work. You’re more likely to achieve your goals and dreams.

Having positive relationships is also crucial for happiness and fulfillment. This includes building strong connections with family, friends, and colleagues, and nurturing those relationships over time. 

Set personal goals to spend time with your family and friends, building a community for yourself. Strong relationships provide a sense of support and belonging. They help you weather life’s ups and downs.

Purpose is another consideration that will help you feel happier and more successful. Your purpose is the feeling that you’re contributing to something larger than yourself, whether that’s through your job, volunteer efforts, or personal relationships. Having a sense of purpose provides motivation and direction, and helps you stay focused on your goals.

Personal Growth

The next internal factor I recommend to help track success is personal growth. If you’re growing as a person, you’re setting and achieving clear, measurable goals; learning from your mistakes; and focusing on self-awareness and self-improvement.

It’s important to set goals because these goals provide a roadmap for your life. When you know where you’re going, it’s easier to stay motivated and on track. Measuring progress towards those goals allows you to celebrate small successes along the way and make adjustments as needed.

Learning from mistakes is another important part of personal success and growth. When you make a mistake, treat it as an opportunity to learn and improve. By reflecting on your mistakes and figuring out what went wrong, you can avoid making the same mistakes in the future–leading to more workplace success.

Self-awareness and self-improvement are also key components of personal growth. These terms refer to understanding your strengths and weaknesses and working to improve your skills and knowledge over time. By focusing on self-improvement, you can become the best version of yourself and achieve your goals more effectively.

Mental and Physical Health

Mental and physical health are important success metrics you can use to understand how well you’re doing. This includes doing everything within your control to maintain good health; coping with stress and challenges; and achieving a good work-life balance.

To stay in good health, take care of your body and mindset. This includes eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and managing stress effectively. Of course, our health is not always 100% within our control. But these common-sense practices will certainly help support your body and bolster your own success.

Coping with stress and challenges is another important factor in your mental and physical health. Life is full of ups and downs, and it’s important to have the resilience to handle challenges when they arise. 

By developing healthy coping mechanisms and seeking support when needed, you can navigate life’s challenges with greater ease. You might try exercising, meditation, or better planning your time.

Achieving a work-life balance is also important. To avoid burnout, make time for both work and play. By setting boundaries and prioritizing your time, you can achieve a sense of balance in your life that allows you to thrive, reaching greater professional achievements and business goals while still enjoying time for your hobbies, family, and friends.

External Factors to Measure Success

In addition to the internal factors I’ve mentioned above, there are also external factors that contribute to your measure of success. These are factors that are often associated with wealth, status, and power.

Financial Stability and Wealth

The first external factor I want to discuss is financial stability and wealth. People who have a lot of money, a large house or a fancy car are generally seen as successful. They’ve worked hard to reach their professional goals.

Getting out of debt is one of the most important steps you can take to find financial success. Being debt-free means living within your means and avoiding unnecessary debt. By keeping your debt under control, you can achieve greater financial stability and flexibility, which is a common measure of success.

Building wealth over time is another important aspect of financial success. This means saving and investing your money wisely and building a nest egg for the future. By setting financial goals and working towards them consistently, you’ll feel more financial freedom.

Professional Accomplishments

Another external factor to consider when measuring success is professional accomplishments. These might include achieving career milestones, making a positive impact in your industry, and receiving recognition and awards.

Achieving career milestones means setting and achieving goals in your career, such as getting a promotion or starting your own business. By pursuing your career goals with focus and determination, you can achieve success and fulfillment in your work. For example, maybe you helped your company reach the desired outcome of an important project, or you completed important tasks that boosted customer satisfaction.


Making a positive impact in your industry means contributing to the greater good, whether that’s through innovation, thought leadership, or community service. By using your skills and expertise to make a difference in the world, you can achieve a sense of purpose and meaning in your work. If you’re not sure where to start, consider your core values and how they fit together with your unique skills, talents, and gifts.

You can also count any recognition or awards you’ve received as part of your professional accomplishments. These might look like shout-outs you’ve gotten from your boss at work; awards your company has given you to recognize your work or character; or industry-specific awards.

Contribution to Society

Your contribution to society is the final external factor you should consider when measuring success. This includes volunteering and philanthropy, making a difference in the world, and leaving a positive legacy.

Volunteering and philanthropy mean giving back to your community and helping those in need. Your time, talent, and resources are valuable! You can use them to make a positive impact on the lives of others. As a result, you’ll feel satisfied, fulfilled, and successful.

Your volunteer work is a way to make a difference in the world. Look for local ways to lend a hand in tackling global challenges like climate change or poverty. By working towards a greater good, you can achieve a sense of purpose and meaning in your life–and remember, a feeling of purpose is one of the most important measures of success.

Finally, by leaving a positive legacy, you make a lasting impact that will be remembered for generations to come. Living a life of purpose and meaning will inspire others to do the same so that you can all create a better world.

Balancing Internal and External Factors

Finding a balance between the internal and external factors we’ve discussed here is crucial for measuring true success throughout your life. Before you can start working on these factors, however, you need to lay a strong foundation of the core values that matter most to you. For instance, the 3-5 values you choose to focus on might include:

  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Peace
  • Community
  • Adventure
  • Faith
  • Financial stability
  • Compassion
  • Family
  • Wisdom
  • Creativity
  • Fun

Once you have a better idea of what’s most important to you in life, you can better understand where you need to focus for the long-term picture. Maybe you’ve been focusing more on external factors (like earning more money or improving your performance reviews) and you need to think more about internal factors (like personal growth or mental health).

The key is to strike a balance between internal and external factors. Don’t worry if this takes a little time. There may be some trial and error before you can find what works for you. But balancing all of the factors we’ve talked about today will help you live a life that’s meaningful and fulfilling.

As you think about measuring success in your own life, take some time to reflect on what matters most to you. Consider your goals, dreams, and aspirations; think about what you’d like to have achieved 10 years from now. Then work backward to set clear, measurable goals, and track your progress along the way. By doing so, you can achieve true success in all areas of your life.

How to Measure Success

As a successful motivational speaker and author, I have spent many years helping people achieve success in their personal and professional lives. I have seen firsthand the importance of measuring success and finding a balance between internal and external factors.

For me, true success is about finding happiness and fulfillment in my work, personal relationships, and daily life. It’s about continually growing and learning, and using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the world. Success might look similar to you. Or you might measure success using different indicators.

Whatever success looks like for you, if you need a way to track your progress and measure success over time, I recommend this Personal Development Template. This document is designed to help you set clear goals and track your progress as you’re achieving success in all areas of your life.

By using this template, you can:

  • Set clear, measurable goals to create a well-balanced life
  • Track your progress and measure your success
  • Stay motivated and focused on what matters most to you

Download the Personal Development Template as a free gift to start achieving and define success in your personal and professional life.


About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

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