05/05/2014 10:53 am ET Updated Jul 05, 2014

The Success Formula

Jeffrey Coolidge via Getty Images

Figuring out success may not be as difficult as some believe it to be. Regardless of one's personal path, three crucial elements contribute to the creation of a successful life. They consistently show up in the stories of people we consider exemplary when speaking of achievement.

However, this achievement extends beyond the usual measures of money and influence, and instead, it places well-being at the core of the perspective. This type of success can be experienced by anyone and is not reserved for only those in the realm of celebrity and wealth.

The formula is: Purpose + People + Play = Success (3P = Success)


Purpose is central to the definition of authentic success. We are each uniquely gifted in what we can offer to the world. When this gift goes unrecognized, a sense of fulfillment remains elusive. Only when this ability is allowed to surface does the experience of rising towards one's potential emerge.

Purpose is the most natural expression of the deepest parts of our souls. Uncovering this aspect of our being is integral to the manifestation of success.


Vitality depends on our ability to connect with others. Most people thrive within supportive communities as a result of the nurturing received and given. When one achieves great conventional success but lacks a circle with which to share that good fortune, emptiness will prevail.

Relationships present opportunities for accelerated growth. Though solitude allows us to get in touch with who we are, relationships allow us to see who we are being. The two don't always correlate, and this is where we take notice of room for improvement. Building connections deepens the experience of the best parts of ourselves.


Far too often, the term play is reserved for children. At some point, seriousness mistakenly became acquainted with adulthood. We were advised to stop being silly and grow up. Too many of us believed the message.

While we have responsibilities and obligations, there is no reason why the inner child can't be acknowledged. Many still carry wounds from childhood. Why not draw from the remedies of childhood?

Dance for no reason. Swing on a swing. Make a snow angel. Blow bubbles. Pure delight is not exclusively for children.

The Missing Piece

If the concept of success appears far removed from your life, chances are that one of the three elements is missing.

Success minus Purpose = dissatisfaction, routine and boredom

Success minus People = loneliness, sadness and selfishness

Success minus Play = burnout, stress, irritation and exhaustion

Operating on two legs may bring some measure of accomplishment, but without the third element, a holistic experience cannot exist. Success, by today's definition, is not limited to the workplace. It rejects being measured by job titles and bank accounts.

Our expanding mindset now calls for conditions that cannot be met by outdated measures. Placing well-being at the forefront disrupts traditional paradigms. As a result, this shift continues to place us on a healthier trajectory when it comes to defining success for ourselves. The new success formula is accessible to all and more importantly, it accounts for the things that really matter.