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Achievement vs. Success which one should you follow?

Simon Sinek explains in his best selling book “Start with Why” how achievement and success are often mistaken for being the same thing.

He writes...

“success and achievement are not the same thing, yet too often we mistake one for the other. Achievement is something tangible, clearly defined and measurable. Success, in contrast, is a feeling or a state of being”

I would agree, having experienced both it is easy to see why both would be considered equal partners when it comes to personal development. But reality is they are different, and they can be separated.

A great analogy I like to use to provide context to this point is to use a sporting analogy, in particular professional sports or the highest level of sports whether it’s the PGA Tour, NBA or FIFA World Cup.

To win any of those sports at the highest level whether it be a championship, a key golfing major tournament or being crowned the World Cup winners is quite an accomplishment, an achievement worth celebrating! There is no doubt that winning in your chosen field is something worth recognizing.

However, what about continued success? What about winning the next NBA championship, or the next major golf tournament or World Cup?

What’s the process involved?

Without knowing the mind of a winner I would assume that process of sustained continued success is more difficult to conquer than the one championship.

Now when we reference great winners we often look to multiple winners, sporting greats who made big impacts for long periods of time.

When we think of basketball we think of Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, or Tiger Woods or Jack Nickalous when it comes to golf and Pele, Maridona, Messi or Ronaldo when it comes to soccer just to name a few.

Those names are not only synonymous with their selected sports, but legends in their own right and their achievements are often overlooked by their high level of commitment, impact and continued dominate success.

You see too often, when we set goals and then achieve them we tend to go through this real emotional high, before we slowly or sometimes quickly come down to earth.

When it comes to success, as Simon Sinek pointed out, it is more about a feeling of wanting to do more, to continue the success beyond the achievement of the goal.

And sometimes when we mix the two up, we confuse achievement as ongoing success, rather than looking at success as a separate concept to achievement.

In order to ensure you don’t get the two mixed up, here are a few ways to drive your development in the right direction.


Be sure to define what achievement is for you. Remembering achievement is often an end goal, and try not mix that up with continued success. For example hitting a certain weight by a certain period, or hitting a sales goal?


Celebrate the achievement but don’t make that drag on to long. This sounds a bit harsh right? But if you notice when an athlete scores a goal, a try or shoots an incredible birdie in golf, they celebrate accordingly, in other words, they celebrate the moment and then move on to the next goal, be sure to do this next time you hit your goal, celebrate within the time frame and then move on.

THREE Be sure to learn from your achievements, this is by far one of the more vital factors for separating achievement and success. Successful people tend to learn and adapt and they tend to see what else they can do better, or repeat the achievement again. Those that tend to lean towards achievement only, create a mindset that limits their potential to do better and learn more.

The key point here is that you must focus on both, and as much as they are separate from each other, they are very closely linked to helping each other progress. Remember success is often related to an attitude and mindset, whereas achievement is often referred to something tangible.

Till next week,

Michael Basagre

Blog Photo by Tété on Unsplash

#SuccessTips #Success #Accoutability #SimonSinek #GoalWriting

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