Stages of Success


[ ‘S o S’ ] = Leveraging Stages to Earn Something More: Significance


Flying @ 35K ft


As entrepreneurs, we’ve often heard how important it is to be successful.

And, as so many of us also know, success is defined in so many different ways, through lots of different life experiences & lenses, that there could be a fairly large library filled with content…


What is success?

How to be successful?

Who is a success & Why?

Where can success be learned?


To be clear, the stages that will be discussed below all DO feed into this ‘black box’ known as success, however, in my reasoned view, if each is leveraged unto one another, you’ll earn something far more impactful in the long term:  Significance.


Success vs. Significance


It’s left to you, the reader, to decide what you seek to pursue. A quick web search returns oodles of success quotes & related content:

Click HERE, then HERE to dip a toe ever so slightly into the ocean: The video & infographic in the latter are wonderfully displayed, by the by!


Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”

―Peter F. Drucker


Turning the page to significance, one of the best sources to land on?  This one.

Our businesses can either drive us, as their owner/founders, to a significant life, or our lives can be the spark on the embers of the business, turning it from just surviving, to a modicum of success, and perhaps significance.


So, the road, visualized as two lanes, does have one going in one direction, and the other in its opposite.


“The difference between real life and a story is that life has significance, while a story must have meaning. The former is not always apparent, while the latter always has to be, before the end.”

― Vera Nazarian


Breaking down the stages  

I contend that each stage can be swapped for another, so the order below isn’t as important as the very high-level explanation of the stage. And, if you happen to have multiple business ventures, you might even leverage the 5 stages differently, if & when you choose to pursue significance in either, or more.



There are miles upon miles of created content online that talks up the vast importance of an entrepreneur’s mental mindset – the ‘inner game’ between the ears, so to say.

To be successful, you might’ve already noticed how you might ( or already have ) had to tune out cynics, critics, and unhealthy skeptics.

How it is often best to replace, 1:1, the mass media’s many arms with podcasts, webinars, audiobooks, and the like.

Yes, that quote about your mind being a garden, and having to pull the weeds?  It’s quite accurate.



Your workplace culture, or the culture ( coffee shop/cafe?  Coworking space? ) in which you invest time if not at a physical location of some sort, definitely is a puzzle needing solving.

Culture is an amorphous term, just like success; many thought leaders come to varying conclusions.

Yet, if you’re the founder or owner of a business with staff on payroll, you know how crucial culture is; your customer service; turnover; &/or engagement/satisfaction are each outward signs of how healthy it is.

In this post from a few years ago, I opined that culture feeds into vision, then strategy, & lastly, tactics.


Social [ Capital ] 

Your professional network/s is immensely valuable; while it’s best understood that clientele can come from any one of many concentric circles  ( perhaps a connector led to a center of influence to this individual ), a very important concept is that of social capital.

While there are many phenomenal resources out there, one of the most impactful is found in the work of Mr. Robert Putnam — linked below is his ‘primer’ website, which by itself is chock full of goodness and explains well why this is a stage of success.



Whether or not you believe in retaining the services of a financial advisor/planner, or otherwise, you’re definitely encouraged to embrace the vast value in understanding the financial stage.

In my own professional journey, which began with one business venture as a side gig/hustle, one of the most impactful stages I ever engaged in?

= Moving from a consumerist/W-2 to a producer/entrepreneurial view of dollars & cents.

Since the vast majority of conventional classrooms in our nations don’t include much, usually any, content on money/literacy, let alone wisdom on how to invest, spend, and/or save money, it is left to us, as the owner/founder, to tap into the deep rivers of resources.


Leader[ship] -> Legacy

This stage alone could comprise a series of volumes, if not another separate library, alongside the success.

In this recent post, I unpacked variants of leadership. It wasn’t all-encompassing, however, feel welcome to re(read) it and combine this stage with that post, to equal greater impact.

An informal mentor of mine teaches that one’s influence ( Excellent podcast HERE ) flows to impact ( which we’ll intentionally define as significance, as you leverage all 5 stages ), then the entrepreneur reaches what she needs to be a viable business:  Income.

Intentionally moving from leading to legacy is a topic that deserves its own post; yet, it’s included above since both seem to be deeply intertwined:


leaving a legacy necessitates leading, just as much as the river of influence x impact feeds the ocean of legacy.  


Suggested Social Follows 


Robert D Putnam

Jim Collins

John C. Maxwell

Robert Kiyosaki


As always, you’re encouraged to

… use this monthly post as a jumping-off point; take it as the sound of the starter’s pistol in track & field:


Ready ( reading this  ).  Set ( click on the links ).  & …  Go!  ( invest in content, set goals, et al. )


Success Magazine

Servant Leadership Institute

Rich Dad Radio Show


In short

  • A high-level overview
  • Comparing 2 ‘Swords
  • The 5 Stages – one by one
  • Recommended Twitter follows
  • Additional content


Thank YOU for reading!




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