If you’re a salesperson or sales manager, the measurement of success can be pretty straightforward. The sales goal is either met or it’s not. And even if the main goal isn’t met, you can certainly celebrate smaller successes: that new customer who finally said yes; that potential customer who, for whatever reason, finally returned your call; the discovery of a new sales strategy that has the potential to bring in business.
If you’re not in sales or a similarly quantifiable field, measuring success can be a little bit more tricky. Sometimes I have to be creative to pinpoint my successes, but I find it’s worth the effort. At the bare minimum, every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. (half-way point for the workweek), I try to take some time to focus on what I’ve achieved for the past week. It might sound corny, but spending a few minutes acknowledging my successes helps keep me focused and motivated. It’s also a great way to plan what I still hope to achieve during the remainder of the week.
To some extent, how you measure success depends on how you define it. These days, one could make an argument that anyone still in business during this tough economy is successful. The fact that times are so tough has many of us focusing less on corporate success and more on the personal. Sales might be down, or one of your best customers might have gone out of business, but helping your son or daughter learn how to ride a bike is a success that will last a lifetime.
I like Ralph Waldo Emerson’s definition:
What is success?
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived;
That is to have succeeded.