The Yardstick of Success

Yesterday’s post was on goals, the flexibility, the rigidity, the evolution and the choices we make regarding goals. Today I wonder about measuring success, deciding whether you met, exceeded, or fell short of your goal. 

When it comes to my job one factor I can use to measure success is salary. When I first graduated college and began working, I made $19,000 and I thought I had really made it. I could afford to purchase the one thing I wanted more than anything – a Jetski. Looking back I had no idea what success could be. Now I know better and no matter how much I’ve increased my salary I know it is still small when compared to some people. But does that diminish my success?

The answer to that question depends on the measurement, the scale I use. If we all compare ourselves to Bill Gates and Warren Buffett then we all fail. For me, at this time and in this place, I am successful as far as my career goes. But what about other things, things at which I’m a novice like I was when I got my first job?

When it comes to my book, the sales of my book, my scale is not large. I measure sales in tiny increments. I push forward however because I want to succeed, not because I have to but because I want to. I’m reminded of someone who answered a question for me as I was writing What Next. Jorge responded to a question about success on LinkedIn and said “The harder the goal, the greater the measure of success.” Selling the book is a difficult goal but each sale, each positive comment, is worth more to me because of the struggle.

I’m reminded of someone else who had a similar sentiment as Jorge, President Kennedy. In a speech at Rice University in 1962 President Kennedy said, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

What goal are you willing to accept because it is hard? What will serve to organize and measure the best of your energies and skills? What challenge are you unwilling to postpone? Will you win?

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