Redefining success? Survey reveals Canadians prioritize following their dreams in 2013

Jan 10, 2013, 08:00 ET from American Express

Despite job and family pressures, 83% of Canadians will strive to learn new things this year

TORONTO, Jan. 10, 2013 /CNW/ - Will 2013 be the year that Canadians actually keep their New Year's resolutions?

Perhaps, as over eight in 10 (83%) are striving to learn new things this year, according to a recent study that reveals a sense of fulfilment is top priority for Canadians in 2013.

The survey, conducted on behalf of American Express Canada, looked at how adults feel about following their dreams and realizing their true potential, as well as whether their definition of success has shifted over time.  The findings reveal Canadians are willing to make significant personal and professional sacrifices this year to make their dreams come true.

"Many Canadians have been living out the wrong formula for success, linking it too closely with over-ambition and long working hours," says Dr. Susan Biali, a practicing medical doctor in Vancouver, Canada, who admits it took over two decades to realize her dream of being a professional dancer. In 2006, Dr. Biali defied the norm and opened her own dance company, Alma Flamenca, which she says led to a whole new world of possibilities. This included becoming an author, professional dancer and international guest speaker.

"I think Canadians are starting to realize that the traditional model of success is flawed, choosing to follow their dreams instead of sticking to the norm. I'm still practice medicine, but following my dream of being a professional flamenco dancer has allowed me to reach my full potential and achieve a more well-rounded form of success."

Although some might think following your dreams comes with inherent financial and professional risks, the survey revealed that, surprisingly, about nine in 10 (87%) Canadians believe you should prioritize following your dreams over other commitments like work and career.

Globetrotting couple Deb Corbeil and Dave Bouskill are a great example of people who risked everything to follow their dreams.

"We had always dreamed of being professional travelers, but this path was so unexpected, so against the norm, that for years we were too scared to put the dream into action," says Bouskill, who worked in the film industry. "We were working 14 to 16 hour days when we finally had enough. In 2009, we got up the nerve to quit our jobs and we've been traveling ever since."

Deb and Dave's adventure blog is ranked one of Canada's most popular travel blogs, and receives sponsorship from tourism boards across the world as well as some of Canada's largest brands.

"It was tough at first, but today we're living happier lives," adds Corbeil. "We're financially stable and have never felt more successful."

The American Express Canada survey further reveals that Canadian priorities might be shifting away from traditional notions of success:

  • 32% of Canadians have changed careers at least once in favour of a greater work/life balance
  • 27% have taken time off of work to travel the world

"It's clear Canadians are starting to define success based on their passions and dreams, rather than simply their career status," David Barnes, VP of Communications at American Express, says. "Whether traveling around the world or taking a hobby to the next level, we should all feel inspired to follow our dreams and realize our full potential."

"This might be the beginning of a very interesting time for Canadians," added Dr. Biali. "Just think: where would we be if we all followed our dreams?"

About the Study:

This study was carried out by Opinion Matters on behalf of American Express in September 2012. 2,000 respondents were interviewed in each of the four countries where the survey was conducted: UK, Canada, Mexico and Australia.

About American Express Canada:

American Express in Canada operates as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex Canada Inc. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of the New York based American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., the largest operating unit of the American Express Company. Amex Bank of Canada is the issuer of American Express charge and credit cards, with outstanding products like the American Express® Gold Rewards Card, and the American Express® AeroplanPlus® Gold Card. Amex Canada Inc. operates the Corporate Travel and Travellers Cheques divisions in Canada. American Express opened its first offices in Toronto and Hamilton in 1853 and now employs 3,700 Canadians coast-to-coast. For more information, visit or connect with us at

SOURCE American Express