How do you measure success?

Success means something different for everyone. For some it’s a job title, for others it’s a level of salary or sense of acknowledgement and kudos (or even ‘fame’) in their field. But how many people consciously think to themselves – ‘what is the most important thing to me in life?’ and applied that to what makes them feel successful.

Have you really considered what success means to you?

For me, like many, family is number one and the reason for everything I do. So success isn’t something I measure by my career or bank balance, although they influence how successful I feel, because they’re what pay the bills and anything on top. And let’s face it, life is expensive. For some people, work really is number one and hey, that’s fine. You do you.

Everyone’s work life is busy, and it’s incredibly easy to get swept up in that, losing sight of why you do what you do. There are times I’ve been smashing it at work, while still feeling miserable, because I haven’t had as much time as I’d like with my family. So how can I call that success?

Right now, I feel successful – I’m getting the quality time with family, and all the right things are happening with work. I could do with adding in a bit more time seeing friends, and I could definitely do with more focus on exercise and not eating s*** food, but success is a moving target.

I’ll say that again, success is a moving target. It isn’t quantifiable.

No one who ever thought consciously about their own success ever reached their goal and thought ‘I’ve done it, success achieved!’ No, if they’ve had a focus on success, they’re hungry by nature and will always aspire to achieve more. That’s the same no matter how you measure success. As I said, family is the reason for all I do, and I’ll always want more for my family. There’s a bare minimum I want to achieve (and I’m nowhere near done) but when I get there, and I will, I’ll have moved my own goalposts and I’ll keep pushing.

But you don’t have to wait until you’ve reached your bare minimum before you feel successful.

Think, and I mean really think, about what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it. If the ‘why’ can bring you happiness along the journey, like spending time with family, then brilliant. If your measure of success is a long-term career goal, and here comes the cliché, set yourself smaller goals along the way that will bring you that feeling of success (and hopefully happiness) in the short-term.

Because, if you spend your whole career striving for ‘success’ – be it a job title, salary or finally having provided financial stability for your family – but you’ve been miserable, or absent, throughout the journey, can you really call it a success?

Here are some ‘homework’ questions to ask yourself, to help you identify your version of success:

  • What is most important to me in life?
  • How can I ensure my work-life contributes to the above?
  • What goals can I set to feel successful throughout my journey?
  • What type of people do I want working for me (and what type of people/businesses do I want to work for) to help me achieve these goals?

That last question is key – no one achieves success on their own, and every person you hire (or every person you work for) has a direct impact on your own personal success.

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Header photo by Paula May on Unsplash.

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