HEALTHY LIVING
05/02/2014 04:58 pm ET

12 Traditionally Successful People On What Success Really Means

Olivia Bell Photography via Getty Images

If there was one overarching message to come out of last week's Thrive conference, it's that the traditional vision of success -- one that values money and power above all else -- is seriously wanting. And it's time for a change.

"The architecture of our lives is badly in need of renovation and repair," Arianna Huffington writes in her recently published New York Times bestseller, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder. Instead of just striving, we should be thriving -- and that means doing the very important work of tending to our well-being, giving back and cultivating a sense of wisdom and wonder.

With that in mind, we asked some of the speakers at The Huffington Post's Thrive conference to share what success means to them. Here's what they said.

Loving what you do.
--Katie Couric, Award-winning Journalist, TV Personality and NY Times Best-selling Author

To find a working balance between my social agenda and working agenda. That ultimately is how we can create the most functional existence, and that’s also the least stressful. By that metric, I’m more successful than I’ve been, and I intend to be even more so down the road.
--Kenneth Cole, Chariman & CEO, Kenneth Cole

Success means something a lot different to me now than it did when I first started my career. I valued success by what society told me it was: money, a big title, owning a big house. But as I've grown up, and now that I have a son, my priorities have definitely changed a lot.

Now, success means being the best person I can be, and watching my three-year-old son grow into a lovely man who gives back, and is respectful to women.
--Randi Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO, Zuckerberg Media; Editor-in-Chief, Dot Complicated

To live a meaningful life, a purposeful life -- a life in which others come before myself, and in which the mind is calm and at ease.
--Andy Puddicombe, Headspace Co-Founder

Success is understanding what makes you happy and then pursuing that goal. That's a two-pronged process -- I know plenty of people who start on a career path and then think, "You know what? I don't want to be a lawyer or a doctor; I really care about fitness, or I want to be a baker."

When you're in your 20s or 30s you have a lot of preconceived notions about what you should do that have been imprinted on you since childhood. The hardest point is shutting out those other voices.
--Lucy Danziger, Former Editor-in-Chief, SELF Magazine; Well-being Lifestyle Expert

One way I define success is the fact that my kids show up to dinner every night, and they sit at the table for the whole meal, and they talk to me. They eat all kinds of good food, and they’re attached to the ritual of family meals.
--Laurie David, Author and Producer

The ability to do what I want -- the ability to do the research and make the changes I want to. Many times, early on we don't have that -- we're tied by having to get that paycheck.
--Dr. David Agus, M.D., Professor, USC Keck School of Medicine and Viterbi School of Engineering; CBS News Contributor

Success, to me, doesn’t just come from work -- it comes from many channels. The more balanced you are, the better. But it’s a journey. You don’t get there in a day, or in a few years. You slowly become more and more wise, and more successful.
--Federica Marchionni, President, Dolce & Gabbana Inc.

Being able to go to sleep and feel good about myself, and about my life and the people around me.
--Agapi Stassinopoulos, Best-selling Author and Speaker

For me, success is helping other people succeed. There are days when I feel like I’ve been successful by that definition and days when I’ve fallen short.
-- Adam Grant, Author and Professor, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Being able to pay my bills and feeling really good about the work that I'm doing. I'm not successful yet, but I'm working on it. I joke that my life on the "Z list" is nice, but I'm looking to get out of there.
--Maysoon Zayid, Actress, Professional Standup Comedian and Writer

Success means being able to wake up every morning and do the things you love. It means feeling awake, alive and connected to what has meaning and purpose in your life. It means being able to touch and engage with those you love, your family, your friends. And it means being in a state of vibrant, awake, alive health.
--Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D., Authority in Functional Medicine; Founder, The UltraWellness Center

For more thoughts on what success really means from our Thrive speakers, watch the video below:

These interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity and length.

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