Title still from Success video reading "what success means to you"

A couple of months back, we asked you for your definitions of professional success.

And we received some fascinating responses. Obviously, we haven’t been able to include everything in our video, but the production company – High Life Productions – have done a great job and we hope you find the results as interesting and inspiring as we do.

Clear, measurable objectives

Many contributors agreed that to achieve success people need to set clear, measurable objectives. After all, if you don’t know what you set out to do, how can you tell if you’ve been achieved it?

For others, success is more about how they feel when they’re working than measuring outcomes. It’s about enjoying what they do and/or feeling that they’re making a difference. And, often, even though a thank you is appreciated, it’s enough for them to know that they have made a positive impact.

Success & money

Interestingly, only one contributor – Miranda – cited money as an aspect of success, and that was in the form of “financial security”. This was rather reminiscent of something the American author Walter Mosley  recounts his father telling him: “first you’ve got to pay the rent, then you’ve got to do what you love.” An impressively clear piece of advice.

There were two submissions that I found especially thought-provoking. One came from Lesley, who works as a coroner’s officer – a particularly emotionally challenging role – the other from Libby: a woman with a fascinatingly diverse portfolio career.

Coroner’s officers are responsible for liaising with bereaved relatives whose loved ones have died in difficult circumstances, as well as with any professionals involved in a case. So, it’s unsurprising that someone doing that job might describe success as “Not making an awful situation worse”. That comment also illustrates the extent to which the ways we perceive success can be determined by the professional demands of our roles and workplace, as well as by personal experience, aims and ambitions.

A transition, rather than an endpoint

Libby’s comment draws attention to the ephemeral nature of success. It is, she says, “the momentary pause on attainment of a goal … a transition”, rather than a culmination, or an ending. An important point to remember, I think, and one which chimes with Jay’s comment that success involves “growing beyond your comfort zone”.

Watch the video

and tweet us – or comment below – to let us know what you think

Grow beyond your comfort zone with at Westminster Business School

Find out more and sign up for

professional or short courses

a postgraduate qualification

an MBA


  • Kudos on a most excellent effort WBS! Many thanks for including me in the effort. Based on the responses of the collective, I realize that success is found in the journey — not the destination. Wishing all who read this and engage with WBS continued success!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

University of Westminster
309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW
General enquiries: +44 (0)20 7911 5000
Course enquiries: +44 (0)20 7915 5511

The University of Westminster is a charity and a company limited by guarantee.
Registration number: 977818 England