Changing How You Define Success Can
Winging his way back to Denver, Lewis began to think
about the job pressures he left before Christmas. He wants to make some
changes as to how he measures success for himself. "It is amazing what
two weeks away from the office has done for my thinking processes," he
told me. While watching the waves crash on the beach, Lewis had
realized that his self worth was entirely dependent upon how much money
he made. His thoughts drifted to the conclusion that he would have few
moments of peace and happiness if monetary gains alone remained his
barometer for success.
It is a common occurrence to measure self-worth by
monetary gains. You paint yourself into a corner when you use only one
barometer for success. Lewis thinks it impossible to be happy because
he cannot reach the monetary peaks that his father had set for him long
ago even though he earns far more than the average Denver income for
his profession. This has spiraled downward into his thinking that he is
less a man than his father, too nice a guy, and just not shrewd enough
to be successful.
Are Your Measures of Success Helping or Hurting You?
Begin by outlining how you currently measure success.
Are your measures realistic? Have several barometers for success.
Distinguish your measures from those imposed upon you. If someone asked
you to sell "Edsels" for a million dollars and you can't sell them,
don't conclude you are a failure. A realistic definition of success
would be based upon a number of factors. Make an honest evaluation of
your job performance, your professional marketplace, your talents,
strengths, and weaknesses, your career expectations and industry
standards. In what areas are you a cut above industry standards with
your capabilities? Are there areas in which you need additional support
or training? What other factors affect the picture? Be thorough in your
Ten New Ways to Define Your Success
- I am assertive and honest in my dealings with clients
and the company.
- I have not swindled anyone.
- I listen and respond to deserved criticism by
responding with what I will alter about myself to help the situation.
- I can show sympathy by forgiving mistakes.
- I will help a colleague who is struggling with a
- I look for the positive characteristics in co-workers
and how I can best work with them.
- I have earned the respect of my peers through my fair
dealings with them.
- I make an effort to resolve a conflict rather than
let it fester.
- I can admit it when I am wrong.
- I am genuine and generous with compliments.
- I exploit opportunity with my creativity without
Happiness can be attained to some degree in the
workplace when you focus on your relationship with yourself and your
relationship with colleagues on a parallel track with business
objectives. Happiness is easier to maintain when your successes are
based upon intrinsic factors. Examples of intrinsic factors include
your attitude, your communication style, and your behavior toward each
challenging situation. You have a greater possibility to feel daily
satisfaction when you minimize the emphasis that you put on factors
that you cannot fully control.