A faithful entrepreneur’s guide to defining success

Sep 30

As women of faith, our formula for success is actually quite simple: faith + obedience = success. (Proverbs 16:3, 1 Kings 2:3) But we all know in the land of entrepreneurship especially, that it never feels quite that simple, does it? So today, I’m going to be talking all about how to define success for your business and give you some practical suggestions that will help guide you to be and feel more successful.

Ready, set, let’s dive in.

First, let’s clarify the dictionary definition of success. Dictionary.com defines success as:

  1. “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose”
  2. “a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.”
  3. “the outcome of an undertaking, specified as achieving or failing to achieve its aims.”

Ok, so basically the world tells us that success is what happens when we achieve:

  1. Our goals (“aim”)
  2. Our purpose
  3. Prosperity

Now, I don’t know about you, but all of the above are certainly ways that I measure success in my business and are actually how I teach my clients to do the same.

So here’s the thing, I don’t disagree with this defintion of success just because I believe “faith+obedience=success” but rather the things the things we’re listing out *as* our goals, purpose, and prosperity that the definition outlines.

It’s how we define these things and these mindsets that lead us down the trap of comparison, FOMO, and discontentment in business and life if we can’t identify them for ourselves and focus on the Biblical truths behind these.

So then, how do you define success for yourself?

How to define success for yourself

In essence, success is a “state of being”– it’s the reality of achievement after a certain list of criteria is met. So let’s talk about some other criteria outside of sales goals today and how to define success for yourself.

1.Ask yourself these questions and braindump answers for both business and life on paper:

  1. What do you need to DO/How do you need to ACT this month to be successful?
  2. How do you want to FEEL this month?
  3. How can you (specifically) use more faith in your business and life this month? What can you do to ACT like you believe the things you say you believe?
  4. What steps can you take in business and life that are obedient to your current calling? What small things would help you move forward?

Now, although the “technically correct” answers to some of these are  “I need to act like Jesus”, “I need to be obedient”, etc. I want you to think about your current season, specific calling, trials, etc. and think about how you can answer these more specifically for this month. 

Tip: Focus on the month to help prioritize your most pressing needs and to have a time frame that you can work towards.

Sit with Him in prayer if need be because being specific with these answers will allow you to come up with specific and actionable next steps to help you achieve your/His definition of success.

*Note these answers are not a definitive list of disciplines or “rules” to achieve success, but rather a handful of examples and a guide to help you get started answering these questions and defining success for yourself. It’s important to consider how each of these applies to you and your current faith journey.

2) Next, reread your answers and turn your answers into a personal definition of success or a statement that best summarizes the key and/or recurring answers.

3) Then, turn your definition of success into a specific action list so you can intentionally work towards these goals this month.

Here’s an example of a personal definition of success and answers to the above questions to help you get the creative juices flowing:

Question 1: What do I need to DO/how do I need to ACT this month to be successful?

  • I need to answer my call to create a new product
  • I need to treat my family as my priority (specifically putting the phone down and being more present at night)
  • Serve my clients well (with more grace and “above and beyond”/excellence. I need to find more time freedom to allow myself to operate this way)
  • Carve out intentional time in the Word and prayer

Question 2: How do I want to FEEL this month?

  • Less anxious about posting to social media
  • More present in the afternoons with my family
  • Content with my finances
  • Grateful no matter the numbers
  • Rested spiritually and physically 

Question 3: How can I use more faith in my business and life? How can I act like I believe what I say I believe?

  • Surrender my child’s diagnosis
  • Choose to move forward with a new service that I believe He says will be successful
  • Finally share a message that’s been laid on my heart
  • Do something not fearing looking foolish any longer
  • Bring “that” new idea to life

Question 4: What steps can I take in business and life that are obedient to mycurrent calling? What small things would help me move forward?

  • Make an announcement or launch date for your new product or idea
  • Purchase a new website domain
  • Tell a friend about your new idea
  • Purchase a new tool you’ve been putting off 
  • Make a landing page 
  • Join a small group
  • Partake in an online community
  • Reach out to an internet friend for a collaboration

Monthly definition of success example using the above answers:

Success for me is living each day with gratitude and contentment no matter my circumstances. It’s walking in faith even when I don’t “feel like it “, serving others ahead of myself, picking up my cross, and making my family my first ministry.

Next, set goals, daily disciplines, or action items to make sure you stay on track for success accordingly. Using the above definition, here is what that could look like in real life:

  1. Journaling what you’re grateful for- even the “bad” things for the opportunity to grow and learn.
  2. Intentionally thinking about who you can help and planning to do it by writing it down in your planner or prayer journal. 
  3. Keep a cross on your desk as my reminder to “deny myself” and pick it up daily.
  4. Create office hour boundaries and flexibility to be with your family.
  5.  Establish dedicated prayer time during a time you’re less likely to be interrupted
  6. No phone after 6pm rule to be more present with family
  7. Establish game night

Writing the answers to these questions and thinking about specifically what that would look like and how it would make you feel, will help you:

  • put Biblical values (not just your business values) into practice,
  • create disciplines, not just one-off tactics,
  • and allows you to define success on your own terms so you can quit worrying about what “everyone else” is saying success is.

It allows your work to fit in with your faith and not the other way around and it allows us to work towards the “Well done good and faithful servant!”.

And that’s what it’s all about, Amen?

Now it’s your turn. What’s your definition of success? How can you define it as a woman of faith and what does it specifically look like for you in this season? Drop it in the comments or join the conversation in the Facebook group.

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