January 14, 2019

Living in that glitzy mansion of your dreams. Creating an indispensable global brand. Building rock-solid relationships with your loved ones. Travelling the world. Making a difference in someone else’s life.

Someone once told me, success is relative. Just like how different individuals define and measure worth differently, success too, has a flexible definition that shifts with the season of our lives. You might be chasing after that dream job in your 20s, but value your contributions to humanitarian endeavours more in your 30s. Over time, you may even cease to think of it as climbing a ladder or reaching a milestone, and start to appreciate the non-linear journey that takes you through peaks and valleys, all of which are valuable and intrinsic to your pursuit of growth and success.

As we start the New Year on a clean slate, it’s the perfect time to ponder what our goals are for 2019, whether they are personal or professional. In identifying your aims and ambitions, perhaps you’ll dig a little deeper and consider what you’re really living for and what success means to you.

We gather the thoughts of 10 industry luminaries, such as Irene Ang, Wee Teng Wen, Sue-Shan Quek, Dr Georgia Lee and more, who have made a name for themselves running thriving businesses. Hear their perspectives on the meaning of success, and whether they even consider themselves successful.

Sabrina Tan, 
Founder and CEO of Skin Inc

“Being able to build a movement, and replicate that in various geographies. I am very interested to know why people do what they do, how they reach a life-changing decision to grow something, and stick with it—because that shows a tremendous amount of courage.”

Neo Kah Kiat, Founder and CEO of Neo Group Limited

“I have been asked before: ‘Mr. Neo, if you go bankrupt what would you do?’ I replied in Mandarin, ‘How can I fail if I haven’t succeeded yet?’ To me, only when I hit one billion in revenue, then I consider myself to be successful.”

Wee Teng Wen, Managing Partner of The Lo & Behold Group

“I was just talking to a friend who's passionate about architecture in Singapore, and he was asking: “Can you imagine Singapore without (blank)?” And that question sparked something in me. I realised that with what we’ve done, I would love for many of our venues and for the Lo & Behold group to inspire that kind of response.”

Andy Lim, Co-Founder and Managing Director of AT Asset Management

“Being successful isn’t just about monetary rewards; it’s also about giving back to society. We started to learn from wealthy business owners how to do so. Even at the age of eighty, many still have so much drive and energy to contribute. It made me see that there’s no excuse for not working hard enough. Take the example of Lee Kuan Yew. At a ripe old age, he was still learning non-stop. That’s something which is part of our values.”

Dr Georgia Lee, Founder of TLC Lifestyle Practice and DrGL

“Success is achieving your goals and from a vanity perspective, being recognised for it. Eventually, I hope to create an enduring legacy.”

Rossano Ferretti, Inventor of ‘The Method' and Founder of Rossano Ferretti Hairspa

“Success is something that makes you sick. I don't think that I am a successful man. People confuse success with money or leisure. For me, I am driven to create something, and to make an impact. I've been doing this all my life but for me, every morning is a new opportunity. I'm still working on my dream and the vision is still there. It may exist for another 10 to 15 years, or just another 3 days, I don't know. But I want to contribute to my industry, all around the world. People think that I've done and achieved so much and that counts as being successful, but to me, it doesn't mean anything.”

Irene Ang, Founder and CEO of FLY Entertainment

“Nothing. I don’t think I am successful. There’s so much more I can accomplish in life. I haven’t done so many things… I have not written my grandmother’s story…”

Getty Goh, Co-Founder and CEO of CoAssets

“To me, the epitome of success is... okay I shall not say it, or I will sound very shallow. You can check our financials: I draw S$7,500 from the company, but my holdings are worth more than S$12 million and growing. I'm not working for the salary; I'm working for the belief that whatever we are doing is going to change how people can make money for their retirement.”

Dr Bernard Cheong, CEO of Lifeline Medical Group

“Having choices. If you’re in a position to choose what you want to do in the afternoon, or tomorrow, or even the rest of your life… you’re successful. Success is never a permanent thing unless you use money to define it.”

Sue-Shan Quek, Founder of The Supermarket Company

“Being able to go on a one-month holiday and come back to a workplace where everything is running like clockwork.”



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