Tuesday, 3 September 2013

How Do You Measure Success?

How do you really go about measuring success?

There are many instances in which success is measured by pre-determined goals and these are used by the average citizen to judge performance. Clear examples of this are medal winners, being voted in as President or Prime Minister and other high profile achievements.

What about Mr & Mrs Average? The same basic concepts still apply. We go after a new job and if we are offered it, we have clearly been successful- Correct? Yes and no. For some people knowing that they performed well during the interview despite a negative result still constitutes success and may well spur them on to do even better.

Another way we can measure success is by tuning into our feelings. If you feel good about something then it has been a success. A friend of mine gave a really great performance recently and as a result said the evening had been a great success- he added that unfortunately it was not well attended. That is a great way to judge the event as life isn't always a numbers game! Obviously most promoters would judge success according to hard cash but sometimes we need to look beyond the obvious to appreciate the finer points that equal success. If only ten people had turned up (I have no idea of the true number!!) and those ten people thoroughly enjoyed the evening, that constitutes success.

Often success is measured in baby steps- for a very good reason! Look how babies progress, they tend to observe and make efforts towards their goals whether walking, speaking or feeding themselves. Both physical and cognitive skills follow a pattern until the new skill is learned. We tend to forget this and expect a much faster rate of success.

When we do experience success it may be followed by a period of non-progress during which we need to consolidate our achievements. Appreciation of success and the opportunity to practice skills is important. Some successes may be a one off, but generally we aim to repeat them. After all, athletes and presidents rarely run just one race!

Success covers all areas of our development. Whether you are aiming to learn your times tables, take up a new hobby or improve your communication, each little improvement can be seen as another successful step towards the ultimate goal.

One of the most interesting aspects of life is that once we have become successful at something we realise that there is more work to be done in another area. This is why highly talented individuals are so often multi-skilled and why successful people never seem to really retire!

Success is what you make it; your vision, your measurements and not something that can be clearly defined and put into the appropriate box. We can have tangible rewards for success such as medals or intangible rewards- think of all the decisions and responsibilities facing world leaders. Their initial success really is only a starting point to a highly controversial path, a slalom down the tricky ski slopes of political life.

A good way to measure success, or at least to help you achieve it, is by setting deadlines. Deadlines help create focus and we can have many achievable deadlines if we break tasks into bite sized pieces. Sometimes life interferes with our plans so we need to be tolerant with ourselves, but ultimately we have a need to achieve; success in life is vital to our overall sense of well being and self-satisfaction.

Why not set yourself a simple task everyday so that you can create the habit of success? This is a good way to get started and build up some self discipline until self encouragement and success become good habits. That way you can easily measure success, even if it's simply getting out of bed at a set time every morning and arriving at work on time!

Success creates happiness and happiness adds to our contentment with life, so build a good foundation and you will be able to create a great future.

Jaz McKenzie

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