Let’s redefine what ‘success’ means

You never know when inspiration is going to strike.

For me, the latest bolt out of the blue came during the closing keynote at the 2016 Digital CPA Conference. Retired BKD chief Neal Spencer was wrapping up a thought-provoking talk about the difference between thriving and merely surviving when he cited this passage from the Ralph Waldo Emerson poem “Success.”

What is success? To laugh often and much. To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children. To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty. To find the best in others. To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition. To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. That is to have succeeded.

Here’s to success.


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