This is part of an ongoing series of articles that examines the characteristics that separate successful individuals and businesses from the rest. Because who wants to be just “average”? 

Achieving remarkable success starts with knowing yourself. Why?

First, because your definition of success may not be the same as mine, or the same as your competitor’s, or the same as your brother’s. As Albert Einstein put it, “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Nobody else gets to define success for you – only you can do that.

And secondly, you are a unique person with unique abilities – and achieving success demands that you take advantage of these abilities.

You can start by asking yourself these three questions:

What are your priorities? What is most important to you? Is it your family? Is it traveling? Is it accumulating a huge investment portfolio so that you can retire on your terms? Or perhaps it is all of the above. Take the time right now to define your priorities so that you know what you’re working towards.

What’s your passion? What are you passionate about? What keeps you going? Is it leading teams? Solving problems? Communicating with others? And how can you put your passion to work as you build your business? Sometimes the answer is as simple as finding a partner or an employee with different passions so that you can both work in the areas that you are most passionate about.

What are your strengths? Finally, what are you best at? Is it writing great sales copy? Planning big-picture strategy? Managing financial information? It’s important to know what you’re good at, and that you know in what areas you need help or support. Conventional wisdom says that you need to “turn your weaknesses into strengths”, but I believe that it is far more effective to spend your time using your natural strengths, and finding help with the areas that you are weak in.

What are your priorities, what are you passionate about, and what are you really good at? Take some time right now to think through each of these questions. It may sound like a simple exercise, but when you’re done, you will have a much better idea of what you’re working towards, and how you can get there.