• Eric Termuende Most Read Contributor.

Like everyone else, I’m caught up in the pursuit of happiness.

Each day I’m working hard to be successful, to be able to sustain a life that allows me to have and do the things that make me happy, and to be surrounded by people that challenge, inspire, and make me better.

So, as I search for happiness, I wanted to ask 11 of my friends who I feel are the epitomes of success what they feel is the one thing their work has to have if they are to be successful and happy.

But before I get to that, there are a few things I’ve learned that need to be shared.

  • Success is relative. For some, success might be measured by dollars and cents. For others, it might be about material accumulation. Others might value education, title, or freedom. In my experience, it doesn’t matter what success means to you, as long as you’re sure of what it is that makes you happy.
  • The people that I talked to are all considered successful, but none of them people are bankers, lawyers or doctors. This suggests that the definition of success might need a tweak.
  • None of these people are coasting. They aren’t pursuing an impulse or blindly following a dream or passion, they’re hungry for something much bigger.

So what is it that we (yes, I’m hungry for the same thing) have in common?

I talked to 11 successful millennials that contribute to Influencive, Forbes, Inc, Mogul, Entrepreneur Mag, HuffPost, Time and others.

All of them felt a sense of purpose in the work they’re doing.

Here is what they had to say:

Before founding Influencive, Brian D. Evans was chasing money. But he soon realized that there was no ceiling to money, and that he wouldn’t feel fulfilled. Now that he has shifted from money to people, he finds happiness through the work of Influencive and in inspiring people.

Clinton Senkow is finding purpose in enlightening people and providing value to them. He finds happiness because people are reaching out to say that they are inspired. What he gets to work on is a lot bigger than himself as he gets validated by providing a platform for others to think big and get through tough times.

Nicolas Cole left his 9-5 at an incredible think tank so he could choose his team, learn, and grow. He now helps people work on personal branding and to be the best they can be.

Stephanie Slatt started Speshio knowing that she could build something that has major impact. She brings people together to build community and support groups.

Jeremy Slate had a masters but—in his own words—lived a life without purpose before helping other people become successful. He isn’t threatened by their success. He’s fueled by it and lives a happy life as a result.

Jules Schroeder saw a gap in what people were needing and started to tell stories to show examples of what a new standard can be. She is being pulled (not pushed) to what excites her most and is listening and feeling for her ‘hell yes’. This came from her ability to listen to herself and from understanding how to find that positive action.

Jose Rosado used to work for a big company remotely for four years. He then started his podcast helping and influencing others and finds happiness through the life he gets to live, not has to live.

Kale Panoho was doing the right things for the wrong reasons and felt lost as a result. Now he is helping people set concrete paths to help them find their individual success. He finds happiness because he has facilitated and enabled that discovery.

Erika De La Cruz purpose came from reverse engineering her career. She wanted to make impact and her brand came as a result. Her purpose is to bring women together to tell stories through her brand, Passionista. Through what she does, Erika finds happiness first, and everything else follows.

Jonathan Maxim shares fitness motivation on a grand scale without limitations. He can change lives through the development of his app and finds happiness knowing that he gets people out of a state of ‘idle’.

Sam Sawchuk’s purpose always comes back to the people he is trying to empower. When he connects a face, a personality, and a smile to a person, it brings it back to a human level. It is important to find something about a person that you can relate to. Empathy through familiarity is what gives Sam a sense of happiness in his work.

Building a sense of purpose in the work we are doing is a top priority.

It has to be at the core of the work we are doing, and it has to mean something to us. Perhaps that is the key.

See, purpose can be found in so many places. For instance, we can be selling TV’s and know that our sale enables tears of laughter as a family gathers around it to watch their favorite movie together.

We could be building an app, manufacturing a t-shirt, shooting a basketball, selling insurance, or plumbing, and if we feel that it has purpose and impact, then it doesn’t matter what it is we do, right?

And so why is it that we depend so heavily on the societal definition of success when these incredibly successful people have (and will continue) to prove that success looks like many, many different professions and bank account sizes.

Success is bigger. Happiness can come from so many places if we feel connected to the work we do. If we feel purpose.

And so moving forward, I’m going to continue to find purpose in my work as the founder of DRYVER, and also as an international speaker and author. I’m going to realize that my path is my own and through the purpose of the work I’m doing, I couldn’t be happier.

I hope you can find the same happiness and success we have, whatever that looks like to you.

And hey, keep in touch. I find happiness in hearing from you.

Eric Termuende (@termuende)Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Eric Termuende is founder of the DRYVER Group., a consultancy focused on the the attraction and retention of top talent. In 2015, Eric was recognized as a Top 100 Emerging Innovators under 35 globally by American Express. He sat as Community Integration Chair for Global Shapers Calgary, a community that functions under the World Economic Forum. Eric is a former Canadian G20 YEA Delegate, representing Canada in Sydney in 2014. In 2016, Eric spoke at TEDxBCIT in Vancouver giving his presentation entitled ‘Bigger than Work’. Eric has worked and spoken with clients across the world for the National Speakers Bureau, and was VP Operations and Finance for the University of Calgary Students Union and Class Ambassador for his graduating class. Finally, Eric currently sits on the Vancouver Board of Trade Company of Young Professionals Board.