Bethanie had a school assignment the other night to write about how to be successful. As she talked about this with her friends, there was a lot of confusion about what success is. If you’re going to be successful, it starts with an understanding of what success really looks like.

For some, success means the next promotion, a bigger income, the ability to travel, having the perfect house, and the list goes on. But success is more than just prestige, power, and popularity. Many people who have achieved these goals still find themselves unfulfilled. While everyone might define it differently, we all share common ground for a successful life. I define success as having:

The people who know me the best, love and respect me the most.

That simple phrase boils everything down to a single pursuit. Let’s face it, our families see us at our best and our worst, warts and all. That’s why every strong relationship requires massive doses of grace and forgiveness. Sometimes, our own families are the hardest to win over. But with integrity and consistency, you can build a life marked by love and respect.

This has some practical implications for every day. It’s easy to get caught up in so many other activities and distractions instead of investing meaningful time with the people who matter the most. We regularly sacrifice the important for the sake of the urgent, taking for granted: “my family will always be there for me.” The truth is, they may not. One day, the kids will be grown and gone, or heaven forbid, our spouse is diagnosed with a life threatening illness. Don’t assume about tomorrow. James, Jesus’ half-brother, reminds us, “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” (James 4:14) Life is short, so make the most of today by prioritizing the people who are most important to you.

Also, make sure that it’s quality time spent laughing, talking, playing, exploring, remembering, and dreaming together. Watching tv or going to the movies, as much as I enjoy those things, doesn’t usually count as moments well spent.

Maybe you feel rejected right now by the people in your life that you think should be closest to you. Let me remind you there is One who knows you far better than anyone else. That Person is Jesus. In Romans 5:8, Paul writes, “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Just think about that truth for a moment, while you were still in the middle of your mess, Jesus gave His very life for you! That’s real love!

Prioritize the people closest to you by saying “no” to less important opportunities. You will never regret building those relationships, because at the end of the day, you are a success when the people who know you the best, love and respect you the most.