Most of us somehow treat these two terms - Success and Fame as synonymous. That is precisely where success and its definition and the attendant emotions need careful understanding. After all there are many students who take to careers; many professionals who transition keeping this one goal of being successful. They may not use the word 'success' but would equate it with personal goals like achieving a particular designation, or maybe a pay package or maybe becoming a SME (subject matter expert).
There have been changing trends in the professional world, which was working in Public sector in 60s and 70s in India. This moved to working for Multi-national companies in the 90s, IT sector in the millennium and today we have the start-up wave. At all times, these were at best, external manifestation of success as the world conjured up meanings for us. The fact is, absence of an objective definition of success, enticed many professionals to follow these trends. All through these changes, happiness eluded those people who had not defined success with a personal meaning and an internal measure. A person wanting to do original work could get frustrated in a family run company with a rigid hierarchy and rules. While a person looking for job security could feel insecure in the professionally run organisation where only performance did the talking.
Not only is absence of an internal definition of success fraught with risk of not enjoying your success, but the Success, which the world confers, is ephemeral and not a true representation of the person's achievement. When we leave the definition to the world we land up with the delusion that success and fame go hand in hand. Let me use the example of Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi of India. The irony is best captured by the fact that most of us were left googling for him when his name got announced by the Nobel Awards Committee in 2014.
Let us ponder and discuss this man's success in his mission of preventing child trafficking and slavery. The key query which gets provoked is
His successful work in this field lead to the Nobel Prize being conferred on him OR
He became successful after this prize.
Can we call him successful even if he was not a Nobel Laureate? Interesting to realise that such questions are deeply discomforting for many of us and we may dismiss it. It is because we somehow believe that these cannot be applied to us working professionals and entrepreneurs. The discomfort is simply because we realise in our depths of our personality that we choose to decide what success would mean for me. But, but how can success, not acknowledged by the world, be Success really!!!? So without thinking much, we leave the definition for the world to decide.
If you Google for Kailash Satyarthi in 2012 you would get some 300 results which has now in 2016 has gone up 6 times. Is this fact a measure of success? Did Kailash Satyarthi work for this? Let us assume for argument that he somewhere in the corner of his heart did toy with the dream that he might noticed for his work. Even if he did that, it looks highly improbable that the prospective fame could have been motivating for him to take up such a noble work.
In fact true achievers work and achieve success, so that the cause they are working for, gets noticed. They are clearly subservient to the cause and they are vocal about it. They use the awareness of their work to leverage and enhance the circle of its impact. The word fame is about getting noticed by a wider audience to the advantages of the cause they working for. It enables soliciting support to enrol more interested volunteers. Equally and more critically it dramatically enhances the reach to prospective clients and beneficiaries of the services.
True achieves never get carried away by the awe, admiration and adulation which follows their success. They stonewall themselves so that they do not lose track of their objectives. Ordinary mortals can rarely differentiate the person from the cause or the organisation and more importantly the purpose it serves in society. Even today a Successful businessman, Successful Company, Successful Brands and Succesful products have a very fuzzy understanding.
Successful people are those who are keen to make a difference to people's lives through their products and services and ensure that they do a good job of creating, delivering and monetising the value. This gets acknowledged which we called fame. Fame generally has a domino effect and from the product spread to the brand, company and the finally the person very quickly.
Those who have the awareness and pragmatism to realise his source of fame, will remain grounded and work for future success rather than 'basking' in the glory. They are many more Entrepreneurs and businessmen who are almost unknown and love to be behind the scenes. It is a strategy which has enhanced their deep sense of happiness and fulfilment. They are fulfilled by the fame his company, team, products and brand are deriving from society.
Like these people, let us clearly define our internal measure of success so that we do no entertain any such expectation that our success will be noticed by the world at large and acknowledged as fame. It is important to realise that famous products and people is not at all a measure of their 'goodness' or 'utility'. Also Fame has nothing to do with the internal experience of Success called happiness. Hollywood and Bollywood starts bear testimony to this statement.