Cultivating The Affluent

How Do You Define Success?

Take a moment to consider how you define success. Interestingly, many professionals tend to define success in the context of the services they provide. The investment manager for instance will often talk about assets under management. An attorney or accountant will commonly address the matter by noting billable hours.

Another way many professionals define success is by talking about the quality of the job they do for their affluent clients. They emphasize the value they provide the wealthy, often focusing, in part, on their expertise.

A third way that many professionals define success is by addressing the intrinsic benefits they get by working with the wealthy. It’s a sort of psychological high very much tied into the concept of happiness. Yet another way a handful of professionals define success is by referencing—usually obliquely—the affluent clients they cater to.

All these definitions of success are valid. Many of them overlap. However, from my perspective, they’re off the mark, with some of them being way, way off the mark.

My associates and I, for more than a quarter century, have been studying the thinking and actions that enable professionals focused on the affluent achieve considerable prosperity. We've analyzed the wealth creating mind-set and behaviors of the self-made wealthy (ranging in net worth from a million to billions) that have enabled these individuals to amass their personal fortunes. A key criterion in all these empirical investigations is defining success.

For these research endeavors, I have to be able to make comparisons between various types of professionals. Furthermore, the definition has to be ubiquitous enough to integrate into these studies the wealth creating insights and activities of self-made millionaires. Lastly, the definition requires a high degree of precision. Taking all this into account, this is what we come up with:

Success = Personal Wealth

Personal Wealth = A Significant Income, Net Worth or Both