Skip to 0 minutes and 13 secondsSuccess looks like reducing energy, reducing carbon. Also success may look like seeing a problem, it looking insurmountable and finding a solution. If i can build a building block that someone can create something more on that would be enough for me. On a personal level it's just making sense of the world around me really. Taking a new idea and sharing it with people all around the world. I think success to me is happiness to be honest. I don't really mind what I'm doing, where I am, who I'm with as long as I'm kind of, happy and bumbling along pretty contently. You know, being a good well rounded person and being you know, an open, kind, wonderful, driven person.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 secondThat's kind of my idea of made it. I think success is exactly saying that's something that I contributed to and made a difference to, and made a difference that was, that was positive. And that can be small things or big things, I don't think it matters. I think success, a lot of small successes sometimes can leave a bigger imprint than sometimes the big things that you achieve or the things that are seen by people to be big things. I think success for me has, always been about helping other people to think. I love marking an exam paper and realising that a student absolutely gets some difficult or complicated concept that I taught them. That for me is success in teaching.

Skip to 1 minute and 48 secondsThe accomplishments that I value the most would be related to maybe seeing services change as a result of our research but that's quite rare indeed. Success for me is... on a Saturday when we have a full house of guests and people are smiling, full bellies, eating food that would have otherwise gone to waste. The parts I find most rewarding about my job are meeting new people, going out. There's a lot of travel involved and also on the research side the potential that you could discover something new and world changing. To me success looks like making a positive difference in the world.

Skip to 2 minutes and 27 secondsThrough my work I want to continue to work with people's perspectives, people's voices, not in a political sense but in a way that gives a healing to people's concerns. I'd like to see people's aspirations being met. I want justice, I want people to have that justice in what they do. Have that equality in their life have that, have that happiness in their life as well and feel that they're living a good full life and if my research can contribute to that then I think I will be a little bit happy and maybe feel a little bit successful as well.

Skip to 3 minutes and 1 secondHaving conversations with people and seeing how their mindset has changed catalysing action, be that in a local community or amongst the student body. It all makes a difference, so small changes can make a big impact. For us I think success is unleashing potential. So an accomplishment for me recently was getting to actually do a workshop with vulnerable women and to hear a really personal story from a lady that we were helping about how she for many many years had to go down the corner shop and steal tampons and that our project was just really interesting for her and really helping her and that was kind of, a real achievement for us in hearing that success story.

Skip to 3 minutes and 46 secondsAnd that we can actually make a difference. I'm excited when I hear people talking about the issues that we bring up and owning them for themselves. For me, success looks like ending homelessness, one person at a time but also changing whole systems so that fewer people are having major problems in their lives. I really like to see individuals who've been on the streets for a really long time, see hope and move into accommodation that's going to build a long term future for them. Success to me looks like solving technical, commercial and environment, global environmental problems and often those can all be done simultaneously.

Skip to 4 minutes and 35 secondsWithin consulting I'd say I'm probably less enthused by the direct content of the work but being a big company gives you opportunities for impact for instance, I joined our office's environmental team which even small changes there are going to have a much bigger impact than I could have had via changes in my personal life. But in a company if you change the way a building of hundreds does something then you can look back and you think you've set up a system that will sort of compound your ethical impacts into the future. I would like to achieve through my work changes in the country, improving the country for better, and models that people in the future can refer to it.

Skip to 5 minutes and 11 secondsIn my eyes success means that we've done something, we've built something that we love. We enjoyed the process, we enjoyed the journey and our client, ultimately our client is really pleased.

What gives you a sense of purpose and accomplishment?

Of course, we can’t expect every minute of our work life to be fun. Sometimes we just need to ‘get on with the job’. We need a balance, as well as a feeling that the ‘not fun’ stuff is worth it.

As well as enjoying what we do, we should value it and feel that what we accomplish is worthwhile. Having the willpower to get down to work even when we don’t feel like it, and overcoming the tendency we all have to procrastinate, is what makes ‘success’ more likely. If you find purpose in what you do, and value the accomplishments it may bring, it will be easier to motivate yourself to do the work you need to do.

Watch the video, think about how each person has responded to the question and add some ideas to the comments:

  • What kinds of accomplishment do you personally value?
  • What are less important to you?
  • What gives you a sense of purpose in what you do?
  • Were there any contributors in particular that you identified with when watching the video?

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This video is from the free online course:

Unleash Your Potential: Sustainable Futures

University of Bristol