I subscribe to Success Magazine and love reading the inspiring articles from successful entrepreneurs and business owners.  As a subscriber, I get a monthly audio CD filled with conversations between the publisher, Darren Hardy, and various leaders. A conversation I just listened to was from Darren Hardy about success versus significance.  He asked the question, “How do we define success?” Is it money, cars, million dollar homes, etc. or is it something more? Shouldn’t success really be defined as significance?

Think about it. Does it really matter if you have a gazillion dollars if nobody remembers what you did or how you made them feel? Can you say you’re successful just because you have a beach house in the Hamptons but are unkind and selfish? As I listened, I couldn’t help but think of nurses and whether or not we even think about these terms in our practice.
Sometimes, it’s all we can do just to get through our shift or our day. To think about how we define success seems like a luxury. However, it’s time for us to think about how we define success. What does it mean to be a successful nurse? Is it position? Is it getting your PhD or DNP? Is it money? Or is it something more?
Maybe the way nurses define success isn’t tangible, such as a position or salary. Maybe the way nurses define success should be about significance, as Darren said. Are we significant in our practice? Do we make a difference? Are we changing people’s lives?
This shift in defining success would allow every nurse – independent of position, degree, salary or years to be successful. So, the nurse working nights for the last 30 years that chooses to stay at the bedside can be a success. The nurse who, although continues growing and learning, is not able to get a masters degree and advance his or her education, can say that he or she is successful. The nurse working in a small rural clinic who could make more money working at a large department store, can say that they are successful. And, the brand new graduate nurse who is still learning the skills of being a nurse can be successful too.
It’s the opportunity to be significant every day that should be the barometer for success. Feel good about what you do. If you can say that what you do makes a significant positive difference in the lives of others, you can say that you are a successful nurse!
Be proud. Be significant!
Take care and stay connected.