Friday, June 4, 2010

Define Success for Yourself

I was able to take a short break from work recently and made a discovery that now means so much to me. By the way, a break is something I strongly recommend. Amongst other benefits, it also affords you the opportunity to take a step out of your regular routine to appreciate your life from a different angle and of course get better refreshed to continue. For me, I was opportune to meditate (when my kids were off my sensory range) on what Success meant to me.

I’ve come to realize that Success actually means different things to different people. Even for each individual, the phase of life one is in, the experience one is going through also determine what success is. However, most of us tie it to the achievement of goals alone. For a child in elementary school, success is probably about going home with a report that makes mum and dad smile. For another in college, it may be beyond just making the parent smile at graduation to making an excellent grade above peers. And then it goes on to getting a wonderful job, getting recognized as a star performer at work or winning the contract as a business owner.

Truth is when we achieve those goals, we do feel good, but not long after that, we’re pursuing something else. On the other extreme, we never really define it for ourselves. We let what others have defined it to be to determine how we rate ourselves on the ‘success-o-meter’. So there could be someone who feels good enough about being a size 12, but because others feel a size 8 or 10 has a better figure, she begins to feel less “successful” and then goes through so much to be a success by their definition.

For a long time, I have quietly asked myself what it would take for me to eventually feel confident as successful but the period of reflection I had during my leave settled it. It’s the concept behind what it means that really matters. Now, 2 simple words if met at any point in my life would tell me clearly that “Olubukola Ogunfayo, you are a Success”. In Performance Management, we call those words – Key Performance Indicators. They are COMFORT and RELEVANCE.

Yes, I know some may say comfort is relative, relevance is time-bound; but to me comfort would be ease of getting what I need or want at anytime and relevance, being critical at all times. Now what this has done for me is to make me easily assess how close I am to my Success target or rate my success level. I have taken time to review different areas of my life – Faith, Marriage, Work etc on how comfortable and relevant I am.

I have also decided on certain actions I will take, goals with timelines I need to set, identified resources I must get that would make achieve both in these areas. I will not trade one for another because both need to be there for me to feel successful.

My counsel on this is for everyone to know exactly what makes them feel successful. We need to be able to identify our success level at every point in life so we can comfortably say we have become success stories despite how others may feel. I have found mine, have you?