definition of success

The Evolving Definition of Success

My viewpoint on success is a work in progress because what defines success for me is always changing.

When I graduated from college and began to transition away from being a broke student, success simply meant having an income. Figuring out how I was going to make a living, at that point, being top of mind.

I was able to secure a salaried job working for the U.N. and KPMG but the rigors of the system and working beyond the hours of 9-5 caused me to see the commodity of time as more valuable. I made a decent amount of money but I didn’t have time for myself. When I later followed my gut and became an Entrepreneur I had time and some money, but I didn’t have peace of mind.

Entrepreneurship and freelancing are quite tough with the difficulties of running your own enterprise knowing each project has its own end date. This forces you to always be on your toes constantly finding new gigs. None of this is as sexy as the magazines make it out to be.


During this season my attention turned toward having a foundation and that became my litmus test for success. The question of can you have money, lifestyle, peace of mind, and more became a reality that intrigued me.

As a freelancer you have to think of life differently juggling your focus between multiple revenue streams, reducing risk, leveraging opportunity, and having the right people around you. Now that I’ve achieved these benchmarks, success for me now is about others.

I have achieved what I need in order for me to not only survive but to enjoy my life and share that enjoyment with my family. I now see my life sort of like a fountain but more accurately like a vase of water. The more I pour into myself the more it overflows to the people around me. This is a nice place to operate because I don’t feel like I am emptying myself to serve others.

My focus now is on orphanages, education funds, charity work, mentoring people and that’s where so much of my joy is. Yes I do the events, I do the big tech conferences, I’m onstage with millionaires and presidents and that’s what fills the vase to overflowing.

I have no interest in making my vase bigger and my focus no longer is on filling my own coffers.

The question now becomes into what areas is this success spilling? Who are the beneficiaries of all the ideas, opportunities, and the resources that are graciously poured at an abundance into my life. I am keenly aware and appreciate all the people who are investing in me. This is truly a blessing and now I can do that for others. Being young and now in a position to spend the next 40 to 50 years helping to make the world brighter gives me a satisfaction that no other form of “success” can replace.

Success is seeing other people win because I am in their lives

Success in others

There is no pinnacle of success where you no longer have more to learn. Investing in others will impact YOU because it is mutually beneficial for both parties. Coaching people from Gen Z is so refreshing for me. I used to be the youngest person in most rooms and that’s not the case anymore. Whether it’s fresh ideas or new ways of thinking, the challenge of being around the younger generation is what helps me stay relevant and breaks down any silos I’ve built around my preconceived notions of the world.


At this point if you are still asking yourself ‘what is success?’ be encouraged that the definition is by no means fixed. Along your journey you will get to determine if achievements alone are the fuel of your happiness. Tolerance, adaptability in a fast paced world, being inquisitive, and joy are just a few of the fruits that await you if your purpose eventually outshines your portfolio.

Resisting the temptation to chase the rewards of fame for the sake of fame alone will allow you to shatter the glass ceiling of your ambitions revealing a greater reward; the overflow of your blessings changing the world around you towards the good.

Dan Ram ignites the stage as an in-person event and virtual event MC/ Moderator & Speaker at over 100 events a year. He has shared the stage with international luminaries including President Barack Obama, Sir Richard Branson, Reid Hoffman, Nico Rosberg, and Grammy-winning artists and celebrities. He has also been recognized as a Top 40 under 40 leader 2020 as well as a Top 100 Yale Alumni in Technology 2021. Level up your communication skills through his course and mastermind “Speaking Success”. His passion is to inspire people with his motto ‘Start Now Start Simple’ in building a future we all want to live in.

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