The Measure of Success

What I learned from the 10 Year Challenge

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Kim Perell CEO of Amobee

The 10 year challenge has gone viral across social media, with people posting images of themselves a decade ago and today.  The difference a decade can make shows a stark reality of what was and now is. What you do TODAY and the decisions you make in your life, and business, greatly impacts your personal and professional success.

10 years ago I sold my first company. The same company that my friends and family told me I was crazy for starting. The same company that I started after being laid off from my first job out of college – my dream job. The same company that I started after the only person, my 80 year old Grandma “Nana”, would give me a loan for – lending me $10,000 dollars despite no knowledge of the internet. It was this company that I believed in with all my heart, despite what anyone else was telling me. Was it easy? No! Did I have to make sacrifices that I never expected? Yes! Were there days that I questioned myself and had doubts? Yes! Was it worth it? One Hundred Times OVER! And on the morning of March 6th, 2008, the acquisition made the news. I had gone from broke to a multimillionaire by the age of 30.

Fast forward my life 10 years later in 2018. Within that next decade, I will have sold my last company for $235 million (in 2014) and in 2018 be running a leading adtech company with over 1000 people and 25 offices. Those that have the ability to execute have the ability to do extraordinary things. Execution is the ability to do and get results – to keep moving forward to achieve your vision and goals in business and life despite the obstacles that lay ahead.  These are the practices I use in my personal and professional life every day.


When I look back, the biggest mistake I made is I didn’t dream big enough.  Today I am a big believer in dreaming big! Dream BIG, and then dream BIGGER!  The number one thing you need to succeed is the right mindset – believe in yourself and believe you can do it.

Do things that scare you – overcome your fears. Ask for the promotion. Ask for the sale. Ask for the job.  Ask for opportunity. Ask for the investment. Ask and keep asking.  Ask for what you want – worst is you don’t get it – and if you don’t ask, you know you won’t get it.


It’s about having a clear picture of what you want to achieve. Without a clear vision, you don’t know what goals to set or what actions to take. By taking charge of your vision, being exactingly clear about what you want, you are setting yourself up for a life of greater success and fulfillment.  Your vision can be how you envision your life or want your life to be, starting a business, selling a business taking your career to the next level, going to school, getting a new job, or maybe you want to be an artist, or get married, or buy a home or other life goal. It’s your vision, and it needs to be compelling and motivating enough to you for you to take action and commit to achieving it, even when it gets challenging.


Take The First Step in achieving your vision. Just dive in and move forward. Know every time you act, no matter how small, you get one step closer to making your vision and goals a reality. Just start.  No matter how small, take an action.

Don’t mistake busyness for progress.  We all know really hard-working people who ultimately are not successful. You can be really busy, but that doesn’t mean you are busy doing the right things. Prioritize the actions that get you closer to achieving your vision.  So often we spend the most time on the things that ultimately don’t lead us to where we want to go. The truth about the 10 year challenge is it’s the things we do and decide daily that get us there.


We often talk about the importance of passion in that we are doing something we love.  But passion in work and life is ultimately about the things you care about so much you would happily suffer and sacrifice for. Are you willing to suffer for what you want to achieve, what are you willing to give up or sacrifice?   Are you willing to make financial and time sacrifices required?Passion is critical for success and achievement, and will give you, and those around you, a sense of meaning to sustain you through the toughest times.


Who did you have in your life 10 years ago? Who do you have in your life today?  Are they the right people? Because wherever they are going, you are going too. The greatest single determining factor of the quality of your life is the people.  Building healthy, inspiring, supportive relationships that bring out your best and encourage you to be your best is the cornerstone to success and happiness.   

Every year, I make it a point to do a Life Audit at the end of year.  I audit the relationships in my life – personally and professionally – and focus on spend more time with people who challenge, motivate, teach, inspire and support me, and less time with the people who drain my energy and bring me down. The most significant element in any person’s life is the people.  If you change nothing else in your life than the people you spend your time with, you will have increased your chances of success tenfold.

What are the next 10 years going to bring you?

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