In life, the definition of success is all relative. More specifically, success is relative to what your competitive landscape looks like. Success is solely determined by your personal goals, past experiences, network of peers, and how you decide to weigh the possibility of achieving balance (which I don’t believe of in the conventional way), or better yet, the importance of harmony and health in your life. In my humble opinion, no point in shooting for the stars if you’re miserable doing what it takes to get there. That to me is not success. Success is, and should be, based upon achieving what is most important to you, on your schedule, based upon your non-negotiable values. That is exactly why I wrote The Path Redefined, so that you could learn to live a life you’re proud of while “getting to the top on your own terms.” Cue what became the title and subtitle of my book respectively and the mantra and guiding principle of what I consider to be a successful life.
We all have our dream list of things that we want to do during our lifetime and an impact that we hope our life will make. Legacy has never been more important. As a parent, my biggest achievement is to see my children thriving with the hopes that they eventually do better for themselves than I did — see, that legacy impact is so crucial because if we do it right, it all comes back to us many times over in our lifetime.
There is always more.
Over the years of my career across industries ranging from wine, to marketing and brand strategy, venture capital, publishing, media and speaking, I have had a breadth of experiences that have shaped my career opportunities. I never take for granted how fortunate I am and I am always humbled to be recognized for doing work that I am fiercely passionate about. Doing what you love and being able to call it your profession is a luxury that cannot be denied. Over time the press and accolades can pile up and it’s easy to feel like there can’t possibly be more to achieve. When it all happens quickly we wonder how much more we might be able to claim.
This week, I was invited to the New York Time’s DealBook conference. An event where business titans across different industries convene to be interviewed by Andrew Ross Sorkin. After having been interviewed and asked to serve as a keynote speaker around the world countless times over the past decade or so, it’s rare that I show up to an all day conference just to listen and learn. But, there’s always more. It dawned on me, as I am often the one on the stage speaking, that this is exactly what “more” looks like for me and for so many of you striving for professional greatness. Of course there will always be people who are “more” than us— people who might be more educated, more experienced, more financially secure, more celebrated, etc. However, I have never pursued success solely for the material and monetary factors. There are always bigger stages, broader audiences, more influence, greater impact, THERE IS ALWAYS MORE, no matter how much we have achieved already.
Taking it back to the importance of legacy for a moment: when Kenneth Frazier, President and CEO of Merck & Co, was asked about why he was the first to step down from the President’s advisory council immediately after the violence and hatred in Charlottesville, he said that his values are to always do what’s right and that his wife and children are his most important constituents. That statement got me.
There’s always more. In this instance, Kenneth Frazier knew what was most important to what more looked like for him. I was most inspired by his story of defying the odds and continuously shooting for the stars with integrity.
He made me aspire to one day sit on that stage too. There’s always more for us in life. More love, more acceptance, more success, more money, more opportunity.
What does “more” look like to you?
Lauren Maillian has been an entrepreneur her entire career since starting her first business at 19 – an internationally recognized and award-winning vineyard and winery that made her the youngest self-made winery owner in the country. She sold that business at 26 and started a marketing company, followed by becoming a founding partner at an early stage venture capital firm. That’s 3 businesses built before 30 and by age 26 earned her a coveted honor, being named to the Empact 100 List at the White House for being one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under 30 in 2011. She is a bestselling author of The Path Redefined, a television personality and former co-star and host of the startup focused television show Quit Your Day Job.