I am sure many would answer along the lines of lots of money, big house, new car, designer clothes, five star restaurants and all that. And sure enough, those are signs of success on the material level. Nothing wrong in reaching for those - as long as you feel joy in the process.
It has been interesting to see how my own idea of success has evolved through the years. When I was young, I was eagerly reaching for material success. I chose my jobs accordingly and so of course ended up in sales. And sure enough I did earn some pretty good pay checks.
But then a nagging feeling started to grow. I began to realize selling was not what I wanted to do all my life. After all I was often forced to sell products I knew did not really fit the customer. You know how sales meetings go: all that matters is the amount of money you made. The values were hard. Eventually I became very unhappy.
And so I became to realize that even with big pay checks I did not feel successful. That is when my search for success turned inwards. I quit sales and chose another profession - this time helping people. The feeling of relief and belonging was great - and suddenly my life felt successful again. Even though I earned less, I was much more content.