I want to be a person whose children, wife, friends and clients feel comfortable and confident in coming to me with anything – any thought, feeling, fear, joy, regret or experience they choose to share with me. That’s a very clear daily affirmation, but a rather intangible goal. So how do I measure success?
Well, when my teenage son asks, “Dad, a friend asked me if I was born again; what does that really mean?” – that’s a measure of success. When he reveals to me that he is reading St. Augustine’s “Confessions” and wants to borrow my copy of Boethus’ “Consolation of Philosophy” – another success. When my wife says, “You amaze me…” When my oldest son calls me immediately after being robbed at gunpoint…
Keep your measures simple.
There are volumes written about how to measure success and the achievement of goals in business and in life. I have learned to keep it simple, at least for starters, then add more sophisticated metrics when appropriate based on the return on effort.
In my business as a coach, a simple measure of success is when my clients come to me and say,
“Mark, never before in my life have I been this focused on what is truly important to me. I know what I want; I know my true priorities; I have the courage now to act On Purpose; and I am getting the results I’ve always wanted.”
A simple measure I use and teach in sales is the “4-Point Productivity Plan“, in which my goal is to get a minimum of four points each day based on this scale:
- 1 point – Get a lead, an introduction or a referral
- 2 points – Make an appointment with a decision-maker
- 3 points – Have a meeting with a decision-maker
- 4 points – Close a sale
Another simple sales measure stems from one of my basic sales principles: People want to buy what they need from someone who understands what they want. So my goal is to understand, and my simple success measure is when a prospect or client tells me that I “get it”, that I understand their circumstance and their desires, whether I can directly meet their need or not. In fact, the sales “pitch” they say “yes” to is typically their words which I repeat back to them.
I lead a group of youth in our church and I have a simple success measure in that role, too. It’s very similar to the one with my sons and wife. When a young person requests, in private, “Mark, may I ask you a question?” or when they have the courage to ask the same question of a group of their peers, or they publicly share a doubt, belief, joy, regret… That is success. It’s not what they know or understand so much as it is the sign that they know who they want to be. I have helped create a safe environment for them to be open, honest and authentic. I have succeeded.
In leadership and coaching, my simple measure is helping others move forward and succeed, by “never telling someone anything I could ask instead.” This takes particular discipline and patience, but I love the results when I succeed and I help someone find clarity and commitment to right action by asking them questions. Yet I’ve told them absolutely nothing, especially of my own experience, advice, opinion or recommendation. I merely asked them to keep talking about their thoughts.
If there is anything that keeps me sane (let alone successful) it is the fact that I cannot be more invested in your success than you are. But I am responsible for my own success. And I’m more successful when I keep things simple.
What are your simple measures of success? Please take time to comment on your examples; we can all learn from them.
[Oh, and by the way, my son Dylan did read my copy of Boethius, and posted several quotes for his peers to read on Facebook!]