Measuring What Counts

I coach successful people, but I haven’t met one person who feels like they are successful enough. Success is like a mirage – always just out of reach. Even when we achieve a goal, the feeling of success is fleeting and that target of success seems to have moved just beyond our grasp.

I know this feeling. I’ve been asked several times over the last few months how my business is doing. My answer? Fine. It is fine. Actually, it's better than fine. I established a company, compiled a book that will be published in 2022, was hired by several firms for leadership development, served more than 20 coaching clients, completed 2 additional certifications, hired assistance for social media and started a newsletter.

Do I feel successful? No. I still don’t feel like I did enough or accomplished enough. Why? I think about what else I COULD have accomplished – the additional calls I could have made, the efficiency I could have had, the action I delayed, the decision I didn’t make. But by measuring what I maybe ‘could’ have done, I discount all the actions, decisions and progress I made.

We are often our strongest critics. Although we are often told to take time to recognize and celebrate success, it’s still hard to do so. And if we do, it’s for a split second before we start contemplating that constantly moving goal post. That is why measuring for focus and progress can be so important in the quest for success.

As you start to reflect on the end of the year, how can you recognize your success, progress and growth?

  1. Define success. What does success mean to you? Because we often get ideas about what success means from well-meaning family members, friends and peers, it’s helpful to take the time to reflect on what success means to you. What do you value? What is a meaningful achievement to you? What do you want to experience? How do you want to feel?

  2. Identify the small steps. It’s the small steps that matter in achieving success. Sometimes it seems like people are a success over night, but the reality is that success is a result of often invisible steps, actions and decisions taken over a period of time. Unfortunately, we often wait to celebrate success until we achieve a huge accomplishment (winning a big case, receiving a large award, getting a promotion). Those successes are the result of many steps of progress – ones that are even more important to recognize. Stop waiting to celebrate. What is a measure of progress that you can celebrate today?

  3. Find your champions. Find those supporters who celebrate success with you. Whether it’s a coach, mentor, friend, family member or trusted advisor, it can be incredibly powerful to have that person hold you accountable to celebrating your success. We all need those champions in our life to remind us of what we’ve already accomplished. The picture I posted above is a bouquet of flowers one of my champions gave me to celebrate my first client. Who wants to know about your progress, and who will celebrate the steps along the way?

  4. Revisit your expectations. Because we often look toward the horizon for that next goal, recognize that your definition of success will change and evolve based on opportunities, responsibilities, experience and interests. Set a reminder to review what success means to you at least once a year. How do I remind myself to re-define success and the small steps of progress?

You are successful. Give yourself the space to recognize all you’ve done. And find that supporter who can celebrate with you.

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