How We Got Here
Measure, measure, measure. We are conditioned to look at output, productivity and results. Thank you, industrial age.
Met your numbers? Great! The bar just went up for 2022. Came in under budget? Fantastic! Allocated resources have been reduced by 20%.
Do it better, do it faster, do it with less. The message is always that it’s not enough. How can you NOT interpret this as you’re not enough? By redefining success according to your values.
We often seek validation from others to confirm our value or feel better about our choices.
This is human nature, and I completely get it. In business, understanding strategy and how we will measure what’s working and what’s not, is extremely important.
However, as a leader in your own life and career, there can be so much power in establishing a whole different set of goals as your barometer for how you show up each day. Defining success according to YOUR values and who you want to BE are powerful ways to ensure you are in integrity – regardless of what’s happening around or to you.
I admit that this is a concept I am continuously working on. Let’s take my business, for example. Yes, I want to build a viable, financially stable company, but this takes time. So, if I used revenue as my only measure of success, I would go to sleep each night discouraged and disappointed. I have to find other ways to look at my day and know I am doing the things that MATTER both to me, my mission and the health of my business. But like all change, it also doesn’t happen overnight, to break the old measuring stick and use the new one. TRUST, it’s a PRACTICE of undoing, unlearning and learning a new way to move about in the world.
Redefining success is a revolutionary act. Questioning the status quo, is a revolutionary act. And like all revolutions, you have to believe the cause is greater than the discomfort of change.
How To Rethink Measures of Success
- Identify what really matters to YOU. It’s so easy to go right to what we’ve been conditioned to think matters. Start with what you’re valuing right now – is it personal growth, strengthening relationships, or perhaps even pursuing a side hustle?
- Identify the FEELINGS you are aiming for versus the results. What if you decided that while building your business, you wanted to feel joyful and playful. That might mean you take different actions than if you were looking to force a certain outcome. Take time to consider how you want to feel each day and then check-in to see if that came to fruition. This can help you spend less time worrying about the output and more time focused on the choices you’re making.
- Choose timeline-related goals that feel spacious and EXPANSIVE. Society tells us that faster is better, but this can often feel constricting and miserable. Detaching from timelines altogether – especially when you are not in control of when things happen – might be a better way to think about it. The idea here is to find ways you can set yourself up for success with reasonable timelines that account for unexpected things to happen (because they always do).
- Use measurements that RELY ON YOU alone. This allows you to celebrate the wins along the way without validation or actions from others. Note how these are entirely in your control and can be great measures to reflect on daily, weekly, and monthly. It might look like:
- Showing up to difficult meetings with curiosity
- Having conversations with an open heart
- Being fully present in the moment
- Additional questions to consider as measures for success:
- Did I experiment with doing things differently?
- Did I hold my boundaries?
- Did I practice acceptance and non-judgment of myself and others?
- Did I choose the easier path and self-acceptance when things got tough?
- Did I treat my body well, with love and respect?
It’s hard not to think about the famous Broadway musical RENT, and the infamous song that asks ‘how do you measure the length of a year’? The answer was love. The question speaks to this same concept we are talking about here. If we want to lead differently, live our lives differently, then how we look at success needs careful reflection. Cheers to the revolution!!
Talk About It Tuesday: Redefining Your Purpose: Identifying Transferable Skills (with Latoya Goree)