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The Definition of Success

June 1, 2000
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Last month, I had a conversation with a reader about professionalism in the industry and what sets apart those who are successful from those who are not. “There is more than one way to define success,” he told me. He is absolutely correct.

The best advice I ever got was to choose my profession wisely—not on the basis of how much money I could make, or how much prestige I could garner or even on the state of the job market—but on how much I loved the work. “After all,” someone once said, “you’ll spend the majority of your time working. It might as well be doing something you enjoy.”

As you all know, I am not a surveyor. My training is in reporting, writing and editing. And I’m blessed to get paid to do what I like best. And although I’m not a surveyor, in the year or so I’ve been at POB, I’ve come to have a deep respect and admiration for the profession. I’ve been struck by the genuine love of surveying evident in nearly every industry person I’ve spoken to. I’m not surprised, however; there’s a lot to love about surveying. On the days when I sit in my 10th floor office and look out at the bright blue sky, I long to tag along on some surveyor’s fieldwork. (I’m happy to say I’ve been invited on a surveying “field trip” this summer and can’t wait to go.)

Back to the definition of success…

Because POB is an industry business magazine, we focus on new ideas, new approaches and new technology to increase your profits and improve your business in the hopes that you will be more “successful.” But success is defined by more than just profits and having the latest equipment. Yes, success is earning enough to comfortably support yourself and your family. But I believe success is more than that. Success is won by doing what you love to the best of your ability, treating everyone fairly and honestly, and earning the respect of your peers. It is also won by the willingness to learn new things and be open to new ideas. And finally (and most importantly), success is having the love and support of family and friends. According to that definition, I haven’t met an unsuccessful surveyor yet.

Along that note, please read this month’s “From the Field.” Arkansas surveyor Nathaniel de Aryan shares a story about the unexpected perks of surveying that you’ll take to heart.

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