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What is your definition of success?

Posted on April 25, 2007

By Joel Zuckerman

Monday’s post outlined the cornerstone of my personal philosophy as a corporate speaker. I’d now like to briefly discuss the concept of success, and my personal definition of what it means. 

When people ask me who I’ve written for, or when my next book will be out, they’ll invariably say something to the effect of, “Well, you must be a very good writer.” I respond with what’s become a stock line: “How good I am is a matter of debate, but at least I’m good enough to get published, anyway.”

So, what constitutes professional success? Is it how much money you make, the size of your office or perk package, how quickly your phone calls get returned, how many assistants and underlings are at your beck and call? None of these criteria apply to me personally. My office is in my home, with no regular associates whatsoever. Phone-call returns are a joke--it takes me half-dozen tries, on average, to get a meaningful call back. You can “Google” my name and find a ton of stuff, but by conventional standards, I’m not a famous or “successful” writer. My books have never sniffed any sort of best-seller list, my writing advances aren’t much, and my television appearances are on the local level. 

But here’s a crucial definition of success, and I latch onto it because it’s the only one that I feel applies to me. Here it is: Love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life. If you can see the logic in using that concept as a barometer of success, then yes, as a frequently-published author and speaker, I would definitely consider myself successful.

Meeting planners are, by nature, jugglers. They have to be. And many, if not most, thrive in the high-stress environment that defines their work. Most of the ones I’ve worked with love the job, and the whirlwind of activity that only intensifies as the big event grows near. They love the relationship-building that takes place between the client, the venue, and the vendors. They can get ultra-tense when the inevitable glitches occur, but putting out the fires efficiently is a central part of the job description. They also love the aftermath, the cleansing sigh of relief when all is said and done, when the attendees go home happy and satisfied. It’s not a job for everybody, but those who do it seem to love it.

And as stated above, if they don’t love what they do, it might make sense to look in another direction, employment-wise.  But only if you want to that type of “success.” I hope you do.


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Tonya Pellegrini-Lawrence

"Meeting planners are, by nature, jugglers.."

This paragraph says it all! It's who I am!!!

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