Success Idioms

In our journeys to achieve goals, whether at work or in personal endeavors, we frequently invoke these idioms to celebrate victories or to encourage persistence. Success idioms don’t just enrich our language; they encapsulate stories of triumph and strategies for winning. Through these expressions, we connect with each other’s aspirations and the shared human experience of striving for something more. We bond over the hard work, the setbacks, and the sweet moments of success that these phrases so succinctly represent.

What are Success Idioms?

Success idioms are expressive phrases used in the English language to convey achievements, progress, or triumphs creatively and figuratively. We often use these idioms in both casual conversations and professional settings to describe our victories or to commend others on theirs.

Here are some common characteristics of success idioms:

  • Figurative Language: These phrases often have meanings that are not literal but represent success through metaphors or analogies.
  • Cultural Color: They reflect cultural attitudes toward success and can vary by region, often carrying historical or local significance.
  • Versatility: We use them across various contexts, from personal milestones to professional achievements.

Success Idioms

List of Success Idioms in English

Hit the ground running Make headway
Knock it out of the park Play your cards right
On a roll Run circles around someone
Strike while the iron is hot Seal the deal
The Midas touch Take the cake
Go places Write one’s ticket
Make a killing Have one’s ducks in a row
Break the mold Leapfrog the competition
Raise the bar Notch up a win
Set the world on fire A Recipe For Success
Ahead of the game Climbing the Ladder of Success
Cut the mustard Shooting for the Stars
Come out on top To the Top of the Mountain
Take the bull by the horns Ace in the hole
Hit the jackpot In the driver’s seat
Bring home the bacon Have the edge over
Turn the corner Go the extra mile
Get the green light

Success Idioms with Meaning and Example

Idioms Meanings with Example Sentences
Hit the ground running To start something with great enthusiasm and energy.

Example: She hit the ground running as soon as she was promoted.

Knock it out of the park To do something exceptionally well.

Example: His speech was so good, that he really knocked it out of the park.

On a roll Experiencing a period of success or good fortune.

Example: After winning his third game in a row, he was definitely on a roll.

Strike while the iron is hot To take advantage of an opportunity promptly.

Example: He decided to strike while the iron is hot and ask for a raise.

The Midas touch The ability to make any venture successful.

Example: She has the Midas touch when it comes to starting new businesses.

Go places To be likely to become successful.

Example: With his talent, he’s going to go places.

Make a killing To earn a lot of money in a short time and with little effort.

Example: She made a killing with her investment in a tech startup.

Break the mold To do something in a completely new way.

Example: His innovative approach broke the mold.

Raise the bar To set higher standards or expectations.

Example: The new policy will raise the bar for employee performance.

Set the world on fire To do something very exciting or impressive.

Example: He’s ambitious and plans to set the world on fire with his skills.

Ahead of the game To be more advanced or successful than competitors.

Example: With their new product, they’re ahead of the game.

Cut the mustard To meet the required standard.

Example: His work ethic is great, but his skills just don’t cut the mustard.

Come out on top To be victorious.

Example: After a tough competition, she managed to come out on top.

Take the bull by the horns To deal with a difficult situation directly and confidently.

Example: When the negotiations got tough, she took the bull by the horns and secured a great deal.

Hit the jackpot To have great success, especially by winning a lot of money.

Example: When his invention took off, he hit the jackpot.

Bring home the bacon To earn money for a family to live on.

Example: He works hard every week to bring home the bacon.

Turn the corner To pass a critical point in a process.

Example: After months of decline, the company has finally turned the corner.

Get the green light To receive permission to proceed with a project or task.

Example: The construction team got the green light to begin the new development.

Go the extra mile To do more than what is required or expected.

Example: She goes the extra mile for every customer she serves.

Have the edge over To have an advantage compared to someone else.

Example: With his experience, he has the edge over other candidates.

In the driver’s seat To be in control of a situation.

Example: After the merger, their company was in the driver’s seat of the industry.

Make headway To make progress, especially in a difficult situation.

Example: The team is finally making headway on the project.

Play your cards right Use your resources or situation to your best advantage.

Example: If you play your cards right, you could get promoted within a year.

Run circles around someone To be much better or more skilled than someone else.

Example: She’s so fast that she can run circles around the other athletes on the track.

Seal the deal To agree or confirm an arrangement.

Example: After weeks of negotiation, they finally sealed the deal with a handshake.

Take the cake To be the most remarkable or foolish of its kind.

Example: His excuse for being late takes the cake.

Write one’s ticket To determine one’s future or success.

Example: With her advanced degree and experience, she can write her ticket in the industry.

Have one’s ducks in a row To be well-organized or well-prepared.

Example: Before he started his business, he made sure he had all his ducks in a row.

Leapfrog the competition To move ahead of or overtake competitors in a very quick and effective way.

Example: Their new product allowed them to leapfrog the competition.

Notch up a win To achieve a victory or success.

Example: The team notched up a win against their biggest rivals.

Common Success Idioms in Contexts

Business Success

Climb the corporate ladder: To advance in one’s career within a company.

  • She’s been climbing the corporate ladder very quickly and is now the vice president of the company.

Corner the market: To dominate a particular market.

  • Their innovative approach to online sales allowed them to corner the market.

Hit the ground running: To start something with great enthusiasm and energy.

  • The new marketing team hit the ground running, launching a successful campaign in their first week.

Ahead of the curve: To be more advanced than the competition.

  • By investing in research and development, they stay ahead of the curve.

Personal Achievement

Go the extra mile: To do more than what is required or expected.

  • She always goes the extra mile with her studies, which is why she’s at the top of her class.

Break the mold: To do something in a uniquely successful way that hasn’t been done before.

  • His innovative style of music broke the mold and started a new genre.

Set the world on fire: To do something remarkable or sensational.

  • He’s young, but he has the ambition and the talent to set the world on fire.

Second to none: To be the best.

  • Her dedication to her patients is second to none.

Financial Success

Strike it rich: To suddenly become very wealthy.

  • After investing in some high-risk stocks, he struck it rich.

On the gravy train: To be in a situation where one can make a lot of money with little effort.

  • Ever since he patented his invention, he’s been on the gravy train.

Make a killing: To earn a lot of money quickly.

  • She made a killing in the real estate market just before it peaked.

Laughing all the way to the bank: To make money easily or unexpectedly.

  • Despite the critics panning his movie, the director was laughing all the way to the bank.

Overcoming Challenges

Beat the odds: To succeed despite a low probability of success.

  • He beat the odds by recovering from a serious illness and then going on to complete a marathon.

Turn the tide: To cause a significant change in the course of events.

  • The new CEO turned the tide for the struggling company, bringing it back to profitability.

Move mountains: To achieve something that seems impossible.

  • With enough determination and hard work, she can move mountains.

Rise from the ashes: To make a strong comeback after defeat or failure.

  • After the disastrous product launch, the company rose from the ashes with a much more successful offering.

Teamwork and Collaboration

Pull together: To work collaboratively towards a common goal.

  • When the community faced the crisis, everyone pulled together to help.

Join forces: To come together to combine efforts or resources.

  • The two companies joined forces to create a groundbreaking new product.

All hands on deck: A call for everyone to help, especially in a difficult situation.

  • With the deadline approaching, it was all hands on deck to get the project finished on time.

Two heads are better than one: Suggesting that working together can produce better results.

  • We couldn’t solve the problem alone, but two heads are better than one, and we found a solution.


Keep on truckin’: To continue going forward with determination despite difficulties.

  • Even when the course got tough, he just kept on truckin’ and finished his degree.

Stay the course: To continue with a process or effort until it is completed.

  • Despite numerous setbacks, she stayed the course, and eventually her business thrived.

Hang in there: To remain persistent and not give up during challenging times.

  • When you feel like quitting, just hang in there. Things will get better.

Weather the storm: To survive through a difficult period.

  • The small business managed to weather the storm of the economic downturn.

Education and Learning

Hit the books: To begin studying seriously.

  • With finals approaching, I need to hit the books this weekend.

Learn the ropes: To learn the basics of something.

  • The first year at any job is often spent learning the ropes.

A quick study: Someone who can learn new things quickly and easily.

  • She was a quick study and mastered the new software in a few days.

Burn the midnight oil: To work late into the night or early morning, especially studying.

  • I had to burn the midnight oil to get my thesis completed on time.