Getting Personal: Making Business Decisions Based on Your Personal Definition of Success

Ever felt like you’re juggling opportunities, but end up battling indecision because you’re not sure which ones are really the right fit for you? 

To make matters worse, you’re paralyzed by the fear of making the “wrong” move in your creative business.

As an entrepreneur, you’re likely faced with opportunities, decisions, and choices on a daily basis! 

Whether it’s collaborations, projects, clients, or ventures promising growth and financial gains, you’ve got options. 

The challenge kicks in when each opportunity feels like a pivotal decision, influencing the overall direction of your creative career and your personal life. 

It’s exciting to have choices, but it also initiates a balancing act.

If you rush into things you might look back with regret. On the other hand, if you drag your feet too long, solid opportunities might pass you by! 

What looks good on paper might not be what feels good in your gut.

At the end of the day, you have to fulfill your commitments, clock into your business, and ultimately live the life you’ve built (whether intentionally or not).

Let’s make sure your decisions are choices you can stand behind 1000%!

In this blog post, we’re exploring how your unique definition of success can become the ultimate GPS for making decisions in your creative business in a way that leaves you feeling confident, aligned, and fulfilled.

Your Definition of Success

Success isn’t a one-size-fits-all goal. It’s as unique as your fingerprint and should reflect your:

  • Values
  • Priorities
  • Circumstances
  • Desires
  • Dreams

Often it also accounts for the experiences, relationships, and people that matter most to you!

As a creative entrepreneur, your personal and professional worlds are deeply intertwined.

This makes your definition of success the compass that keeps you on course so you not only have a business you enjoy diving into every day, but a business that supports your needs and the lifestyle you want to live!

My Big Opportunity

Let’s get personal for a moment.

I want to share a recent experience where I was presented with an opportunity dripping with potential. It checked all of my boxes– almost.

And the spoiler is… I DIDN’T take it.


Because while on the surface it seemed like a dream gig,  once I dug deeper I found it didn’t completely align with my definition of success.

Let me explain. 

Recently, I found myself at a crossroads when a significant business opportunity came my way. The initial details were promising – a chance to collaborate with fellow creative entrepreneurs, broaden my influence by reaching more creatives, and add a new revenue stream to my business.

I was genuinely intrigued and excited,  so I dug deeper into the opportunity to better understand how saying “yes” would shape my life and business.

As I sorted through the details, everything seemed to align seamlessly. 

I had the capacity in my schedule for the project, and the idea of tackling a new challenge energized me! Not only was I excited about the opportunity, but I also felt confident I could deliver. 

But, as conversations went on and new information was presented to me, a crucial element of the project came to light – a request for me to travel two days every week for the duration of the project.

This meant being away from early morning until late at night twice a week, or in some instances, spending three full days away. 

Every single thing about the opportunity resonated positively with me, except for this one (really big) hurdle. 

As the parent of two young children, being present for their everyday moments is essential to my definition of success. This is the season my family is in! 

Even though the idea of leveling up in my career and business was pretty tempting, I seriously grappled with the reality that saying “yes” meant sacrificing the flexibility to be there for the moments that count like attending my kids’ soccer games every Tuesday and Thursday. 

I had countless talks with my husband about it, and after careful consideration, I arrived at my decision. 

Despite the outward prestige and perception of success that the opportunity offered, in the current stage of my life, it would actually lead me further away from my personal definition of success.

In the end, I declined the offer. 

I tell you this story because chances are, you’ve found yourself in a similar spot. It’s easy to let all those “checked boxes” overshadow the one that didn’t quite feel right. 

The truth is, not every “box” carries the same weight. This is where generic pro/con lists fall short! For me, sacrificing one of my non-negotiable boundaries (family time) for the other benefits of this opportunity just didn’t add up

When dealing with these tricky decisions, relying on your personal definition of success can be like having a trusty compass. It makes those tough choices a bit easier to navigate.

In this case, my definition of success guided me in a direction that prioritized quality time with my children, even in the face of a tempting career move. It’s a reminder that success is a personal journey, one that should sync up with your values and priorities, not what the world thinks you should be chasing.

Decisions of All Shapes & Sizes

Making decisions with your definition of success isn’t just for big opportunities. 

Whether you’re evaluating marketing platforms, building your team, or implementing new systems, let your vision of success guide you in making the right choices no matter how big or small.

For instance, when I launched my blog, my goal was to reach a broader audience, serve more creatives, and create a greater impact. This goal aligned with my definition of success in both impact and the audience I wanted to serve. This made the decision to start and continue my blog an easy, “heck yes!”

Eventually, as my business grew (and my capacity for blogging each week shrank!), I decided to bring my copywriter on board. The blog’s importance still aligned with my vision, but my capacity didn’t, so I needed to make a decision that would feel aligned during this new chapter of my business and season of life.

Consider applying this strategy to your own business decisions. From small choices like selecting the right software (for some, implementing a handy tool on their phone may be great, but if you value less screen time, this might not be the right move for you) to middle-of-the-road decisions such as focusing on a blog project, and even larger choices like taking on a new revenue stream or a significant project. 

When you align each decision with your overarching definition of success, you ensure that every step you take contributes to your long-term goals. This approach not only amplifies the impact of your decisions but also brings coherence to your business strategy, making it a powerful tool for sustainable growth.

3 Steps for Real Decision-Making: 

Ready to shift how you handle decisions and opportunities? Start by figuring out what success means to you, keep tweaking that definition, and dive deep for all the info you need to make smart choices. I’ll walk you through the 3-step process:

Step #1: Define YOUR Success

First, you have to be super clear on your definition of success (it’s personal and SO important)!

Take some time to figure out what success means to you.

No filters – be brutally honest with yourself. 

This can take some time as you unpack the layers of what society, friends, family, and your internal biases tell you about success. Through this work, you may reveal that what you thought success “had” to or “should” look like, isn’t anything at all like what your genuine version of success really looks like!

If you’d like support getting started, I created a free tool specifically for creatives like you to help you to help you gain clarity around your unique definition of success. 

Click here to download your Definition of Success Exercise!

Step #2 Use It!

USE your definition of success consistently! 

When making a decision (big or small) or setting a strategy your first thought should be to revisit what success means to you. This is not an exercise you do once and leave to collect dust in some abandoned notebook. It’s a tool you can and should use regularly.

When opportunity knocks, ask yourself,

Does this get me closer or push me further from my version of success?”

If it feels like a “HECK YES,” go for it. 

If it’s a “nope,” trust that gut feeling.

It can take time to learn to trust your gut– even when you have a clear definition of success. As you develop your intuition, be sure to lean on your trusted community of family, friends, and business besties to help you sift through the options! 

An added bonus of understanding your definition of success is that, quite often, it unveils the reasons behind our gut reactions. This insight makes it easier to identify points of friction and recognize when an opportunity may not authentically align with your goals.

Step #3: When in Doubt, Dig Deeper

On occasion when you don’t know what choice to make and you feel kind of stuck, that’s your cue to do some more digging, questioning, and thinking.

Because let’s face it, if things aren’t crystal clear, you’re probably only seeing part of the story.

Go ahead and dive into the nitty-gritty.

Make sure you’re not just skimming the surface but really understanding what’s going on and what the impact of taking on this new opportunity will be. 

Take a moment to figure out the impact or benefit you’re expecting from the decision you’re about to make. If it’s going to consume your time and energy, but the result might just be maintaining the status quo in your business, ask yourself:

“Is this really where I want to invest my time, energy, and effort?”

Sometimes, a closer look reveals the missing pieces and turns that decision fog into a clear, actionable plan.


The process of making business decisions that align with your definition of success is all about staying true to yourself. Your definition of success isn’t just a checklist, it’s a living, breathing guide. 

There is integrity in knowing what success is to you, and proactively making decisions to get closer to that; to realizing your vision for your life and your business. 

By steering decisions toward your version of success, you’re not just responding to opportunities – you’re owning your journey.

You’ll be amazed at how much clearer things feel and the progress you make when you keep your definition of success as the compass that guides and informs your decision-making process!


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