I am going to define a success footprint as the amount of strain and negativity you put on yourself or out into the world in order to maintain your success. For example, a person who uses Internet fraud to attain financial prosperity has a quite high success footprint. Someone who provides clean water to African villages that don’t have a steady water supply for a living has a very low success footprint. Those are the extremes, but where do you fit in?
When I worked at Starbucks, I wasn’t making a lot of money but I still felt successful at what I did. I was able to connect with so many people and get a better understanding of dialogue which has helped me profusely in my writing. As you might have seen in my quitting coffee article, I believe that providing the world with caffeine may cause negative mental and health effects. By that token, I was leaving a bigger success footprint than I would have liked. This was one of the major factors in me leaving.
I’ve done a lot of thinking about my success and how I can make it small while still achieving financial and career prosperity. One of my main goals is to make a considerable portion of my income from this website. I’m helping people (I hope!) and the only negative impact I can think of is the carbon footprint of the servers this website uses.
What is your footprint of success? Are you more of a Machiavelli or a Gracian? Machiavelli, as many know, stressed a kill or be kill attitude of business and power. On the other hand, Baltasar Gracian, the author of The Art of Worldly Wisdom, stressed prudence and honesty. The latter author is less known but very important to keep in mind when determining the price at which you become successful.
Now if you work for the evil empire or something, this is not a call-to-arms to quit immediately. But I am saying that if you are able to gain an alternative source of income that has a lower footprint of success, you can begin to feel better about how moral your monetary and career success has progressed. Be truthful to yourself and have some happy (low footprint of success) success :).