This article originally appeared in Inc. If you like this article,
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Thomas grew up like so many of us entrepreneurs do: with a massive chip on his shoulder and a desire to achieve his own version of success -- whatever "success" meant to him as a young boy.
Fast-forward to today, and Thomas has exited a business for millions of dollars. He then took to Instagram for fun, and inadvertently created one of the most compelling coaching brands on social media, dedicated to helping new entrepreneurs to define and achieve their own versions of success.
But here's the thing -- and this is one of those big, universal life truths, so listen up, people -- success is always in the eye of the beholder.
Not only that, but success changes as the beholder's perspective changes. As Thomas admitted to me recently, "I'd say I've reached success, but the definition of success and how I view it is very different from what people would think when they look at me."
The difference, as so many successful entrepreneurs have told me, is between reaching success and reaching a milestone of achievement.
While most of us think of success and achievement as being synonymous, they're in fact very different: "Success is, in itself, global in nature to your life," explained Thomas, "where an achievement is a reward based on some work you've done."
In other words, when we typically define success, we're actually talking about achievements like mansions, Bentleys, private jets, premium vacations and other rewards for our efforts.
But, what every millionaire entrepreneur knows (and what we all need to embrace if we're going to make our own millions) is that success is a state of being.
And, just like every other state of being, achieving it comes down to a decision you are free to make at any time, right inside your very own mind, in 1 second or less.
Although Thomas is successful by most definitions, it wasn't always that way. In fact, his journey involved pursuing other dreams (like being a dancer in the circus!) and failing at a plethora of new ventures that never quite clicked for him. In fact, the inspiration for his current business as an executive coach was based on his youth.
"I wish I would have met somebody like me when I was younger, so I could have harnessed that fuel and treated myself like an efficient Tesla," Thomas mused. "Instead, I was like an old V8 car that was burning through a gallon of gas every six miles," at times charging in directions that never panned out.
But, critically, Thomas had decided at a young age that he was going to achieve those milestones that we think of as success. Therefore, since he believed his success was inevitable, he charged "full steam ahead" wherever he was going, believing that he would stumble upon his desired destination eventually.
And that's just the point for all of us who toil away in entrepreneurship: Simply deciding that we will make it, that we will find a way, that we are inherently successful, is enough. Once we can harness the mindset of success, our results are a probable outcome of our simply moving forward and never giving up.
As Thomas summed it up, "The day that you just decide that you're going to be everything you wanted to be, that's the day you're a success."
Your desired achievements may change, but you can be a success right now -- and once you are, no one will be able to take it away from you.