Six Steps for Defining and Achieving Workplace Success


Success is many things.

I need a good work-life balance, where my career and family receive equal attention. A colleague wants to feel proud of her work and that it’s making an impact on the world. My husband needs creativity and independence in his work. For others, promotions and income are critical to feeling successful. And some people find success by using a job as a means of supporting a less-lucrative passion.

It’s clear that while everyone wants to achieve workplace success, definitions run the gamut.

Perhaps even more varied than the definitions of success are the habits, feelings and environments that support it. Different things work for different people, of course, and habits can range from daily gratitude sessions to food choices to arriving early at work. In order for me to achieve a work-life balance, for example, I need to focus on time management, setting priorities and organization. Everything must be in place and ready to go, otherwise I’m distracted while I work, and it takes twice as long to complete a task. My colleague who strives for pride in her work and an impact on the world needs to set high expectations and be part of a hardworking, reliable and collaborative team.

Each person requires a unique combination of habits that leads to workplace success. It goes without saying that there is no right or wrong here; however, everyone must take time to define success according to his or her own terms. Consider personal values, expectations, work style, inspiration, priorities, etc.

So how do you determine your definition and vision of workplace success, as well as the habits that enable it? Try starting here:

Define Success

  1. Identify your vision of success and professional goals

What does success look and feel like to you? Paint a clear picture in your mind. Allow yourself permission to dream big. What needs to be happening for you to feel fully satisfied and successful at work? What goals would you like to work toward? What does your work environment look like? What types of people do you want to surround yourself with? What impact do you want to have?

  1. Consider what values drive you

In your professional and personal life, what do you value most? Where would you refuse to compromise? For a list of values, click here. How do your values play into your vision of success?

  1. Determine what makes you most satisfied or happiest at work

In the past, what tasks, environments or working conditions have made you feel the most proud and inspired? What was common among them?

The Barriers

  1. Recognize the barriers to success

What distracts you and prevents you from working at your best? What scenarios slow you down and demotivate you, and why? How will you overcome these barriers?

Enable Success

  1. Pinpoint the internal and external conditions that enable your success

What mindsets and attitudes make you the most positive and productive? What kinds of people and environments encourage your best work? What needs to be happening to put you on top of your game?

The Plan

  1. Create a plan

Once you’ve done some personal analysis and developed your own definition of success, a pattern should start to appear, revealing habits that help you achieve this success and those that hold you back. Focus on one or two things that you want to continue doing and one or two things that you want to change. Share your plan with someone who can help hold you accountable. Finally, consider: What’s at stake if I don’t follow this plan?

Success at work is not a one-time quick fix. Rather, it’s about creating a strong vision that inspires you and then cultivating habits that enable that vision.

Here are some resources about habits for workplace success that might be helpful as you figure out what works for you.

In our next few blog posts, we’ll be exploring a handful of these habits that we find especially useful and important at Bon Education. We look forward to sharing our thoughts on mindsets, reflection, relationships and work environment.

What are habits that have led to workplace success for you?


Content Development Manager, Bon Education

Image credit: Alexas_Fotos,

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