February 9, 2021

How Do You Define Success?

Success is for you to define, not someone else. Approaching age forty, here is how Coach Ben defines success.

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As a youngster, I remember when my mum and dad turned forty. They both had big birthday parties, and I remember thinking to myself, “f*ck they’re old”.

As I approach the same milestone, I’ve been thinking about my place in life, and the idea of success has been filling my thoughts.

Am I Successful?

I used to think of success in material terms. A big house. A nice car. Money in the bank. Success!

As I grow older, that definition and those things seem to matter less. Perhaps this transition started in 2006 when my coach and mental conditioner encouraged a shift of mindset from one of outcomes; results, qualifying points and prize money, to process; the day-to-day actions needed to achieve said outcomes.

I know it was further fuelled when I read John Wooden’s definition of success a decade ago.

Success is peace of mind which is the direct result of self satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to be the best of which you’re capable.

Peace of mind sounds pretty good to me. We’re all born into different circumstances. We have different intelligence, physical health and capabilities. Our looks differ as do our voices.

We are who we are.

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of comparison. As a young man, I spent a lot of my time comparing myself to others and worrying that I wasn’t good enough to compete, didn’t have the right gear, wasn’t enough.

I’ve come to realise that I have no control over what others have, say or do, so why should I spend energy on it? All I can do is make the effort and do my best.

If a big house, a nice car and money no longer matter so much, what does?

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

Racing at your potential and enjoying training is easy when you’re following the right programme.

Life On My Terms


Flexibility to choose how I spend my time, where I spend it, and who I spend it with. Every day, I wake up with the freedom to choose how and where I spend my time.

That is success!


Being a present and loving husband, father and son. I have a family whom I adore, and I love every minute I spend with them.

That is success!


Doing work I like with people I like, in the service of others. I wake up excited to go to work every day, to create things that can help others.

That is success!


Working and spending time in a way that is useful to others. Will people miss me when I am gone?

The work I do, and (I hope) these articles contribute to the health and performance of many athletes.

That is success!

Health & Fitness

Moving my body and nourishing it with foods that are close to nature and minimally processed. Sleeping 8-hours each night. Choosing analogue over digital when possible for my mental health.

I am healthy, lean and energetic.

That is success!

So, Am I Successful?

It’s been a rough road to get here. Like anyone, I have had ups and downs, but I finally feel satisfied with where I am.

By my most recent definition, yes, I guess I am successful.

However you choose to define success, in racing and in life, I wish you and your family a successful year of the Ox.

Xin Nian Kuai Le.

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Ben Pulham

Ben Pulham is the founder of Coached, a personalised training programme that helps runners & triathletes optimise, track and enjoy their training.