Defining Success: A Roadmap for Achieving Your Goals

Samael Tejada
Sourced Photo

Success is relative, and it’s personal. 

When Samael Tejada set out on a career to be a firefighter/paramedic, he achieved that goal, made a fairly decent salary, had benefits and a pension, and saved many lives in that 12+ year career. That did not make him successful.

He bought his house at 22 years old. That did not make him successful.

As President and Founder of Liquivida, he has created a thriving business and grown it into a franchise. That too did not make him successful.

Sam’s interpretation of success is unique and personal. It aligns with his priorities and values.

“Others may look at me, at what I have and at what I have accomplished and think, “He’s made it. He’s a success!” But have you ever heard the expression, “What other people think about you is really none of your business?” Well, when it comes to your success, it couldn’t be truer.”

Tejada says the subject of success is a topic that he frequently discusses with other business owners, busy entrepreneurs, career-focused professionals, and college students trying to decide what they really want to be when they grow up. His most sage advice is to do one thing before all else. Define your success. Establish your own version of success that reflects your individuality, your beliefs, your aspirations.

His approach is as thought-provoking as it is simple, “I just tell people to ask themselves three things…”

  • ‘What do I need to do to feel successful?’
  • ‘What do I need to have to feel successful?’
  • ‘What do I need to be to feel successful?

There is only one person that can establish your definition of success; you. Tejada says that he can’t emphasize enough the importance of establishing your personal definition of success early in life. “Defining it is essential to achieving it; If you don’t know what it is, how will you recognize it when you get there?”

You don’t even have to know what you want to do or be. Tejada points to the typical college student, many of whom have no clue what to choose for their career path. “That’s fine. Take the core classes,” he encourages. “Regardless of whether you’re certain or unsure about the next steps, take the time to know your why. If you have a clear definition of your vision of success, it doesn’t matter what career you’re in; it will apply to any career path you choose.”

And if you don’t identify your definition of success? Tejada warns that you run the very real risk of working very hard most of your life towards no real goal, which is no good. Without a clear vision of what success looks like to you, you may attain financial freedom or achieve a certain status in life – both things that many would consider benchmarks of success. And yet, you may find yourself unfulfilled.  

Tejada stresses that for a lot of people, the definition of success has surprisingly little to do with money. “It didn’t for me,” he states. “When defining my own success, my interpretation of it was a personal and meaningful journey. I wanted to be known as a great businessman who created jobs and opportunities and who cared for people.”

 He suggests considering three essential elements when creating your personal definition:

  • Legacy
  • Notability
  • Purpose

These factors can serve as a framework to help you develop your own unique interpretation of success. By considering these elements, people can determine what they need to do, have, or become to achieve their desired level of success.

When considering his legacy, for Tejada, it was important to leave something behind that has a positive, meaningful, and lasting influence on the world and on his future children and generations. There are many ways to accomplish that, from building a business to writing a great book. Tejada is currently working on one potential legacy vision of his success with his book, “How to Win in Modern Wellness,” due out this year. 

While his company, Liquivida is by all accounts, a thriving and growing successful business, Tejada says he will not attain his definition of success at the level he is at right now. “My plan is to get involved in local politics. Part of my goal with that is to enhance local businesses and get connected to the community. And then move from local politics to the state level, where I can get involved in legislation revolving around business while also addressing the medical component. This makes the most sense to me with my medical background both as a firefighter/paramedic and as the founder of Liquivida. For me, this is the best way to make a positive difference and be a lasting influence.”

Not everyone’s legacy goals are that far reaching. Tejada’s point is that you consider what you want your own legacy to be. How will the contributions you make during your lifetime make a difference, be a positive influence and leave a lasting impression?

To be recognized for your character, accomplishments and contributions, Tejada emphasizes that you need to put in the work. Notability is something you need to earn. Earn a reputation for excellence by learning everything there is to know in your chosen field of expertise. Earn the respect of both mentors and peers by being known for your hard work, determination, and integrity. Be conscientious, not just about what you do, but about who you are.  “For me, personally, I’d like to be known as the businessman who would feed his employees before he would feed himself,” Tejada says.

Having a sense of purpose is crucial to defining what success means to you. Tejada recommends identifying your passions, values and goals, and aligning them to create a fulfilling and purposeful life. Having a sense of direction will help you to get where you’re going on this meaningful and purposeful journey. Sam discovered that his unique sense of purpose was to serve. After creating jobs and opportunities, providing wellness services to the masses, and impacting healthcare through legislation, he potentially intends to serve his country again, this time as part of the U.S. Coast Guard. “Some people think that’s crazy,” he laughs, “but this is my sense of purpose that will contribute to achieving my personal success.”

Ultimately, Sam’s perspective reminds us that success is a personal and unique concept.  By considering what matters most to you and focusing on the essential elements of legacy, notability, and purpose, you can define your success based on your own unique priorities and aspirations.


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