7 Pillars of Real Success
7 Pillars of Real Success

Real Success

Achieving success! Isn’t that at the very heart of what you want and why you do the work you do? It’s the thing we all want in our lives, right? But, are you clear on what real success is to you and are you taking the much needed steps to truly experience it in your life?

Below I will unveil 7 pillars of real success. I’ll share how each pillar embodies one key aspect of real success. With that you will see how you can experience your best life everyday for the rest of your life. You’ll see how it impacts your business, the specific work you do, and beyond into every aspect of your life. Work-life balance flows naturally from these pillars in a way meaningful to you.

You’ll also see how each pillar ultimately affects each other pillar and why that matters.

Before doing so let’s explore the traditional business success model because it is the biggest hurdle standing between you and real success.

The Traditional Business Success Model

Our world has evolved to define success as money; first and foremost

Success = money and money = success

 It’s both a blessing and a curse. Essentially we’ve all come to embrace and believe that if we work harder and work longer it will lead to financial success and when we achieve financial success we can then, and only then, have a life.


This message, in one form or another, has been drilled into our minds for decades.

You see it glamourized on TV, in the news, and all over social media. 

You hear it from business “leaders” and “gurus” all the time. They have come to unconsciously believe it from those before them. Plus, they have already achieved financial success so are incentivized to continue and perpetuate the path for others even though it’s killing them and they are miserable.

Then, your own inner voice takes over. Repeatedly day in day out it reinforces this message until it just becomes the way it is. That, of course, guides your daily actions.

Where does it all lead?

Along an unsustainable path of…

Wow, sounds pretty bleak huh?

That’s the curse of the old outdated traditional business success model. It’s a completely backward way of thinking and being and it needs to STOP!

On the blessing side, money is absolutely a big part of success. By earning a high level of income and having a financially successful business so many good things can happen.

It just cannot be the only goal and measure of success. Putting off or not having a life cannot come at the expense of the endless pursuit of money all by itself.

Why? Because there will always be a reason to keep putting off having a life. There will always be the next dollar, that next project, or that next growth step in business to keep you firmly entrenched on your unsustainable path.

It’s time to stop making your business the centre of your universe. It’s a trap. Ditch the old traditional business success model, NOW, before it’s too late!

Success Redefined

Consider this counterintuitive thought.

When you make you and having a life the centre of your universe you will actually end up doing things that will make you happier and healthier. That, will lead to you having more energy, focus, and time for what matters most. You will be more personally productive AND make more money as a result!

Life Success Model

Now doesn’t that sound more like real success to you?

One of the lasting results is that you still make money, perhaps much more than you would have otherwise. Plus you do so in a healthier, less stressful, more meaningful and happier way.

The question you may be thinking right now, of course, is how do I get there?

Well, as the Albert Einstein quotes goes…

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

So ultimately you need to do things differently. You need to break free from your old habits, old patterns, your controlling underlying limiting beliefs, and the thousands of outside influences that act upon you every day. You need to create change in many aspects of your world if you expect to experience real success.

It won’t be easy. It won’t happen overnight. There will be powerful forces acting on you and within you to pull you back into your old ways. Some you won’t even see coming until you wake up one day and realize you’ve slid right back to where you were. 

But will it be worth it? Damn right it will!

The 7 Pillars Of Real Success

The 7 Pillars Of Real Success

Each of the seven pillars plays a vital role in framing what real success is to you. They also illustrate what must become a priority in shaping who you are, how you show up in the world, and what you do so that you can actually experience living your best life.

Pillar #1: Meaning


Before anything else you’ve got to know what matters most to you and be able to see where you’re going. Not the destination but the direction living your best life takes. Many business owners step onto a pathway dictated by the traditional business success model. It doesn’t matter what it is, what you do, or how you live as long as you are making money. 

As I said earlier that’s an unsustainable path that will eventually weigh you down when it’s your sole purpose and that may lead to all kinds of problems.

Many of the remaining pillars offer significant examples of the impact of living out of alignment with your true meaning.

When you create the time and space to find the meaning that guides your direction in business and in life then you can then adjust or redesign every aspect, in each of the pillars, that currently does not align. That might necessitate changing elements of your business too.

Your Entrepreneurial Compass

There is immense power in having an entrepreneurial compass guiding the most important decisions you need to make and the resulting action steps you take. When things get tough… and they will, having clear and conscious meaning will help you stay the course of change and growth. At times that are busy, which probably feels like all the time right now, connecting with meaning will help motivate you to stay aligned and keep at it.

Without meaning and purpose there are simply too many influences to draw you blindly off course.

That ultimately wastes time, energy, and resources to get back on track when you wake up and realize how far off course you’ve gone.

Finding meaning is about answering questions like…
  • What things matter most to you in your world?
  • Can you easily describe your ikigai; your reason for being?
  • What lights your fire?
  • Why does your business exist or why do you want it to exist?
  • What is the main thing that gets you up out of bed every day?
  • What are you most passionate about?
  • If you had all the resources you need, what would you spend your time doing?

The answers to these questions begins to form your reasons for being, for having the business you have, for living as you do. That includes understanding your purpose or mission, your vision and your values. 

When you clearly see and embrace your meaning you have direction from which to act moving forward. Not only that but when you also connect with your deep compelling why you will be inspired and motivated to live on purpose and to stay aligned with it every day.

Do so and experience the real success of living your best life.

Pillar #2: Mindset


One of the strongest limitations to experiencing real success and fully living your best life is your mindset; your inner voice. 

Your inner voice is the voice of your inner belief system. Commonly the loudest beliefs are your limiting beliefs. It is your beliefs that influence your attitude and your attitude that has a large impact on your actions and behaviours.

Have you heard the old phrase…

Change your mindset… Change your world!

When you are able to consciously see the triggers of your inner voice and its impact on your attitude and behaviours in action you will be able to shift it and reframe it in a way that serves you better.

A negatively framed mindset permeates all of the other pillars of real success. After gaining clarity of meaning, your mindset is next up in terms of priority. It is your biggest barrier on your path of living the dream.

Do these negative mindset traps resonate?
  • Don’t like the state of your business, your role in it, the money you make, your health, your time with family or friends, your lack of fun… shift your mindset.
  • When feeling stuck and unable to take that next monumental step in growth. See how your inner voice is holding you back.
  • If you get down on yourself and beat yourself up about things, check in on how much time and energy it’s consuming.
  • When procrastinating, appearing busy, but not getting any of the real work done, stop and see how much time you are wasting.

Do you ever catch yourself saying “I could never do that?” or “that could never be?”

I recently heard Canadian sprinting legend Bruny Surin speak and he shared that his coach very early on taught him that “the me I see is the me I’ll be.” He said it was one of the turning point lessons in his career and in his life.

With that powerful shift in vision and mindset he went on to be an Olympic gold medalist and one of the greatest sprinters ever.

Dedicate yourself to reclaiming control over your inner voice and embrace a mindset of positivity. Apply it throughout your business activities and into your home life and you will experience a powerful shift in all of the other pillars of Real Success!

Your mind is a powerfully controlling force, especially your limiting beliefs. This is one of the pillars you likely can’t change all by yourself. Bruny had the support of his coach for his mindset shift.

Who do you have?

Pillar #3: Contribution


How do you make a difference in the lives of others?

In the work that you do, the business you lead, the community groups you are involved with, or maybe even through philanthropic work. 

What about at home?

Is it in a way that brings you joy, happiness, and fulfillment? Or is it out of necessity? Perhaps it’s out of obligation to someone else.

The end result of how you contribute may be satisfying but the journey of getting there may not be what you want to be doing with your time. In fact, it may be part of the reason you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or unhappy. You may be very competent in doing the things you do but when passion for doing them does not align the downward spiral has begun.

Real success comes when you are able to spend the majority of your time doing things you love to do, are great at doing, that also contribute to a high level of success with your family, business, community group, or other endeavours.

Where do you want to make your contribution?

As an entrepreneur you likely have aspirations to be a high achiever in your business or in your industry. But in what way specifically? This draws on pillar #1, meaning. Are you spending your time on what really matters, wherever in your life that lies?

If no, why not?

Think of all of the roles and tasks that you do on a regular basis.

Take a guess at the percentage of your list you would rather not be doing? Be sure to include all those things that you are quite competent at but really hate doing. That’s the percentage of your activities takes time away from what really matters… your maximum contribution!

A big part of feeling fulfilled by the contribution you make comes as a result of freedom. First is freedom within your business. Freedom to work on what you do best, what you love doing most, and where you make the greatest contribution to the success of your company while having everything else handled in another way.

Then there’s freedom from your business. Freedom to spend your time contributing elsewhere as you choose. That could be focused on family from quality time with your spouse, to being there for the milestone moments in your children’s lives, to supporting your aging parents when they need you most. The sandwich generation is right where so many entrepreneurs are.

Each of those has taken on a significant level of importance to me, especially being able to be there for my mother as she faced terminal cancer and then for my father as his health began to decline.

Never underestimate the value of freedom to do the things that matter most when you are still able to do them.

Perhaps your freedom will lead to you starting a next business or becoming involved at a higher level with a community group. Then again, maybe it will give you the opportunity to launch a philanthropic endeavour or simply take better care of yourself and your family.

There are only 24 hours every day and 168 hours every week. You cannot add more time but you can become much more effective in your use of the time you have.

Knowing where you want to make a difference in the lives of others and how you want to do it is a huge first step. Then you can begin to create the freedom both within and beyond your business so that you can spend your time doing exactly that.

Pillar #4: Vitality


Without great health, nothing else matters!

It’s a bit of a mic drop statement but it’s true. Yet it’s also one of two main areas of neglect in the lives of most entrepreneurs. The other being pillar #6, connection with the most important people in your world.

In order to have longevity that matters you must have great health. To be able to contribute most effectively you need great health. Being there fully and completely for those that matter most to you requires great health.

Vitality will allow you to fully live your best life. What good would longevity be without vitality.

Vitality is the focus on all aspects of health that adds quality to your years. 

The key areas of vitality include…
  1. Getting enough quality restorative sleep
  2. Eating healthfully
  3. Being effectively active enough
  4. Minimizing harmful stress

Of course these are very broad categories with several sub categories to each of them. Your current lifestyle and habits will dictate which you need to address and make changes.

Why make vitality a priority? 

Well, are you currently taking steps to prevent or invite disease?

In effectively assessing your current health status you can understand this more clearly and begin corrective action. But the usual way is to stop when symptoms go away, right? No symptoms means healthy, right? No, not necessarily.

That is one of the primary downfalls of the current “health” care system. The World Health Organization defines health as the absence of disease. What we have is, in essence, an illness care system. Stopping at absence of disease completely misses the boat.

Most entrepreneurs who are caught up in the old traditional business success model are actively inviting disease.

Because of the work harder, work longer mentality you are likely sleep deprived, poorly nourished, and sedentary. Stress likely dominates your world at work and maybe at home too.

With the “illness care system” mindset you can easily be swayed into thinking all is good. Look a little deeper.

You must look well beyond that into your ability to perform at a level you need to in everything you want to do. Step back to consider pillar #1: Meaning.

Where does your health and well being need to be at for you to fully live your best life?

What will vitality bring?
  • The energy you need at work to be as productive as you want.
  • The physical and functional strength and the mobility to fully enjoy the active lifestyle you love to live or to work on the hobbies you enjoy so much.
  • The strength, stability, and mobility to prevent injuries… especially as you age
  • Cardiovascular health required to be at your best.

A life of vitality really does add quality to your years.

Pillar #5: Longevity


Do you have a longevity mindset?

Imagine living to 100. Even 120 or 150 years of age. The advances in biomedical research happening right now are poised to extend your lifespan such that living well beyond 100 years will be commonplace sooner than you might expect.

So, you’re living your best life with a form of work-life balance that perfectly suits you and you are living well past one hundred years.

Think about all you would be able to experience over a long lifespan like that.

With technological advances exponentially exploding as they are right now it boggles the mind to just think about it.

Whether that is a continual evolution of your dream business, an opportunity to stretch into new and exciting areas that you have yet to imagine, or being able to contribute to others in all kinds of amazing ways… the opportunities are endless.

The pillar of longevity focuses on all aspects of health that add years to your life. Years to live your best life and experience all of what is meaningful to you.

But, as I asked in pillar #4 Vitality, are you taking steps to prevent or invite disease?

You’re at where you are at right now. You can’t go back and change your past but you can change what you do moving forward. Understanding the factors that impact longevity, having the right mindset and a reason for living long, as well as attending to pillar #4, vitality will all bode well for you to life a long, long life.

Yes, genetics and your family history, does have an impact on longevity. But even that may not have as much of an impact as it once did.

Pillar #6: Connection


The relationships you have with the most important people in your world might be the most stress inducing, energy sapping, joy sucking, and productivity limiting thing you experience on a day to day basis.

Or… those very same relationships might be a huge source of energy, support, love, and joy. 

Which do you prefer? 

I think the answer is a no brainer but if you are experiencing scenario #1 above then you might have a hard time believing it can be any other way.

Meaningful connections likely include your spouse or kids or other family members. It will mean friends or business partners, or others who are very important to you.

We humans are a social beings. We thrive with personal connection; even introverts like me. Those meaningful connections certainly include family, friends, and business partners. But they can also include neighbours, colleagues, business associates, employees, community group members, and online group members. 

It can even include people you don’t know very well like your coffee shop barista, grocery story clerk, delivery person, or just someone walking past you on the street.

It really is whomever you draw energy and joy from while being in their presence.

Positive personal connection can shift your mindset in an instant. Ever been having a crappy day when someone says or does something that turns you on a dime? It doesn’t even have to be someone you know. But whatever they said or did jolted you out of whatever funk you were in. Your attitude shifts and your experience of your day from that moment on is much better.

That’s the power of positive personal connection!

If you are experiencing THAT quality of connection with people in your world right now, then embrace it. Feed it. Explore more ways to keep it alive as it will permeate throughout your life in a great way. Your energy will rise, you’ll be happier, and you will get a lot more done.

If, however, you are having challenges with some people in your world then listen to this powerful bit of advice.

The shift from scenario #1 to scenario #2 starts within you. That’s right; in you. 

It can be easy to play the blame game and to wait for someone else to change but you might be waiting a long time as your frustration escalates. It can crater your day to day productivity in all kinds of areas.

Meaningful, positive personal connection begins with a mindset and a vision of the relationship you want to have with someone.

So what do you want?
  • A deeper, more intimate connection with your spouse?
  • You and your business partner to collaborate in a respectful, supportive way aligned with your mutual vision of your businesses success?
  • To experience fun and laughter with your kids?
  • A connection with your employees that fosters mutual success?
  • How about just to know the names of your neighbours or others you interact with less frequently?

From knowing what you want and why comes the process of rebuilding the relationships that matter to you.

One of my early coaches used to say that inner support leads to outer support. As you work on yourself addressing each of the other pillars, that’s inner support. The better person you become and the more effort you focus internally the more others will notice. They’ll want to be there for you and help you further.

That’s outer support.

Another important bit of advice… positive personal connection is a two way street. If it only goes one way, and that’s back to you, it won’t be long before that person gets fed up and bails on you.

The business networking group that I belong to, BNI, is based on the key core value of givers gain. 

As you continue to work on yourself you will be in a stronger, more self confident, caring, and compassionate mindset. From there is where you will be able to initiate the steps to work on those challenging relationships while having the patience and understanding to see it through to the a point where it’s working for both of you.

Imagine how much more productive you will be when you bring forth the energy and positive mindset that comes with connections that are working well. Think, as well, about your experience of life at home when you look forward to coming home and you are not carrying with you a bunch of stress and baggage from work relationships gone bad.

Living your best life cannot fully happen with key relationships out of whack.

Pillar #7: Money


Finally, to the money. Currency. Your personal income, your spouses income, business revenue, passive income streams, investments, additional sources of money, and family net worth are purposely left to the final pillar. Lucky number 7!

That’s because it becomes the positive result of each and every other pillar being addressed and embraced for your business and your life. As you effectively address all of the other pillars and live in alignment with them on an evolving basis you will have all of the energy, focus, and time you need to make your business and your income generation thrive.

Exactly how that will come about will be up to you. Opportunities are endless.

Money, and the accumulation of wealth, is part of your resulting experience of living your best life, not the other way around.

So, how much is enough? Only you can answer that question for you and your family but failing to do so will leave you at risk of falling back into the old traditional business success model of business and money first. It’ll be back to the carrot always dangling just beyond your reach, feeding the continual pursuit of the next dollar.

You don’t have to necessarily have an exact number in mind as a goal but you should have a pretty good idea of the range. Know it, be happy with it, and affirm all that it will bring into your world. Have it be in alignment with your meaning… your entrepreneurial compass. Why make the level of money that you want to make?

Then, while you are living more and more of your best life each and every day, as opportunities arise to increase that monetary goal you can go for it. So long as you are still living in alignment with your best life path and with the work-life balance you truly want… then go for it.

But always beware of the pull back to the old stress inducing, life sucking success model. Its pull will be strong.

With a healthy approach to money and the sources to provide all that you need or want as well as adherence to the other six pillars you will have essentially gained freedom from retirement. At least in the traditional sense.

It’ll feel like you never have to work another day in your life. When the time comes to transition away from one business to another, or one form or work (paid or not) to another, or to something completely different you can do so easily when remaining aligned to each of these pillars.

That’s a powerful position to be in when your lifespan eclipses 100!

Remember Your Why

Possible, attainable

If you’ve read this far then this is obviously an important subject to you and you are ready for a big change. I truly believe that creating the change necessary to step onto your path of living your best life, which includes having a thriving business, is certainly possible. 

Like I said earlier, it will be hard work and it will take time. Remember that there is no destination. Just your life and your business progressing positively forward more and more with each passing day.

While it may not feel great early on, trust me when I say that there will be a tipping point where you do start to experience greater joy and real success from there on out.

Stay inspired by your why and aligned with your entrepreneurial compass, and when you need support

… I’m here to help. Contact me.

Embracing the 7 Pillars of Real Success will unveil your best life

BUT Always Remember…

Real Success - Change

Addressing stumbling blocks and frustrations

When I first approached Brent to help me with physical training I was very out of shape, increasingly unwell and a little pessimistic about any chances for improvement…

Kathryn Ward