Embracing Individuality and Authentic Success: A Deeper Look at Maya Angelou’s Wise Words

Author: Wintress Patrice, Certified NLP Life Coach

Success is an elusive and subjective concept that varies from person to person. While some may measure it in terms of wealth, career, or societal status, Maya Angelou, the renowned poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist, provided a deeper, more personal definition. “Success,” she said, “is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

At first glance, Angelou’s words may seem straightforward, but each element of this tripartite definition holds profound truths about the path to authentic success. Her wisdom emphasizes that success is more than achievements or accolades; it’s an intimate journey of self-acceptance, passion, and individuality. This perspective beautifully aligns with my belief as an NLP Life Coach: that each person is uniquely gifted for their journey.

Liking Yourself: The Foundation of Success

The journey to success starts from within. Liking yourself, or self-acceptance, is the bedrock upon which all other facets of success are built. It’s about acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses, your virtues and vices, your triumphs and tribulations, and embracing them all. This self-love isn’t about perfection, but about recognizing your inherent worth regardless of external validation.

Indeed, this can be a challenging path, especially in a world that often promotes comparison and unrealistic standards. However, an understanding that no one else is you, that no one else can bring what you bring to the table, can act as a compass guiding you towards self-acceptance.

As a Certified NLP Life Coach, I often remind my clients that they are “uniquely gifted for their journey.” This principle encourages you to focus on your uniqueness rather than comparing yourself to others. This isn’t a race; it’s your journey, and the first step to true success is loving the traveler: you.

Liking What You Do: The Power of Passion

Angelou’s second component to success speaks to the power of passion. It’s about loving what you do, whether it’s your career, your hobby, or your role in your family or community. To be successful is to be passionately engaged with your work, to feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment in the activities that fill your days.

Remember, there’s no universally ‘right’ career or pursuit; there’s only what’s right for you. As an NLP Life Coach, I help individuals unlock their passions, identifying their unique gifts and leveraging them in the service of a purpose that excites them. When you align your work with your passions, you invite success into your life in the most gratifying way.

Liking How You Do It: The Art of Individuality

Finally, Angelou ties her definition of success to liking “how you do it.” Here, she celebrates the beauty of individuality. Every person has a unique approach to their work, a distinctive style, or a novel perspective. Embracing this individuality is paramount to personal success.

Success isn’t about following a set script or conforming to societal expectations. It’s about crafting your own path, doing things in a way that feels true to you. Your unique methods and approaches are your signature, your personal brand.

By marrying your unique gifts and skills with your individual approach, you make an indelible imprint on your journey towards success. It doesn’t matter if others follow a different path or use different methods. You are not them, and they are not you.

This individuality should be celebrated, not suppressed. As Angelou suggests, the most satisfying success comes when we appreciate our unique way of doing things. In essence, success isn’t just about the destination, but also about enjoying the journey in our unique style.


Maya Angelou’s vision of success is a testament to the power of self-love, passion, and individuality. It is a reminder that success is deeply personal, entirely subjective, and intrinsically connected to our unique journey.

As an NLP Life Coach, my mission is to guide you to recognize and celebrate your unique gifts, to foster a sense of self-love, and to align your passions with your pursuits. Remember, no one else is you, and that’s your greatest strength. So go forth and cultivate your unique version of success. In the wise words of Maya Angelou, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” Embrace this mantra and the journey towards authentic success becomes not just achievable, but incredibly rewarding.

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