What does success look like, and how will we know it when we see it?
Success looks different for everyone, but, I fear, it seems elusive for too many.
We can measure by how we feel, by someone else’s standards, or by what it looks like to others – peers, partners, public, employer, society … the list goes on, but only if we abdicate the assessment to others.
I am the judge of who I am, and how I am doing, and nobody else has the right of dominance over my thinking unless I let them. And we all encounter bullies along the way in life and learn that we are only subject to a bully if we allow ourselves to be bullied, but I digress.
Back to the subject du jour, how do we know what success looks like? Can we see it coming like a far-off landmark which gets closer and larger looking as we travel farther down the road? If we measure in math, yes. Most people in my business measure by numbers, by money – dollars earned, total sales, etc. That might be the measure of a pay-stub, but it is the measure of who we are, what we are, and what it took to achieve some milestone.
Salaried, or eating-what-we-kill, we start every year – and for that matter, start every day, at zero.
Do we measure at noon and double it?
Do we measure every hour and write it down?
It depends on whether we are selling goods through cash-register lanes, or selling our expertise to someone we have established a relationship with.
Are we delivering more in value than we are getting paid for? That’s a better question of value, but that alone doesn’t go to a measurement of self-worth. For that, we need to dig deeper.
That’s tough, especially as each day ticks by, and our tally doesn’t change; having been in sales since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I can relate to that.
Yes, the whole matters – but where we end up, and how we got there, matters more.
How we measure matters, but more important, what matters ought to be measured.
What do we have that is on the go, what do we have coming in – and what can we generate by reducing our costs and better-managing things that don’t require work so much as they need decisions, negotiations, and planning?
I haven’t worked for wages, on a salary, or on a draw for so long I don’t remember what that feels like, and; the older I get, the happier I am about relying on my work and my wits. It isn’t fun, and some days it doesn’t feel quite as fair to do the job and not get an immediate reward – and when we need that to pay bills, raise children, and get through the most expensive years of our lives, challenging indeed.
Having a reserve is a great strategy, but that also provides a comfortable cushion; on the other hand, living without a comfortable cushion is an excellent motivation to not recline or rest when there is work to be done.
I recognize my last few years have not been as productive as they might have been; yes, the market has been challenging, and our local economy has been in the dumps – but my reasons were different. I excused myself. I used my cushion. I’ve had some losses (good friends, my dad, my dog), and feeling sad for legitimate reasons is the ultimate self-pity-party …
I decided in November, knowing December would be not so busy no matter what I did, to take some time to deliberate carefully about what I was doing, what I wanted to be doing, and how I was going to apply my considerable experience and work ethic to make 2020 a much improved year.
Good morning Mark. I have thought of the process you describe in terms of the Japanese word Kaizen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaizen . Perhaps a bit different than you describe but similar results if utilized. Have a great day, MM, Calgary, AB