How do you define success? Is it how much money you make? Whether you get that promotion? Launching a startup that becomes a high flying unicorn? Flying business class, wearing a nice watch, driving a nice car?
Sure, all of these signify success in one way or another. What’s common among them is that they’re financially motivated. We often limit the notion of success to money and business—if you work hard, you will become successful.
While that is true, I’d like to edit that narrative and offer a broader view of what it means to be successful, one that extends beyond the professional realm and enters the personal. Where success is not based on monetary values but rather living a life with values, a life you can look back on and feel proud of—a life that is lived with purpose. Now the question becomes, how do you know you’ve lived a successful life?
My answer: measure it, daily.
If you know me, you’ll know that I track nearly every aspect of my life, from sleep to what I’m producing at work to how I show up for my kids. (Sounds crazy, I know, but hear me out.) I believe, to the core of my being, that you cannot show up as your best self unless you hold yourself accountable. And that begins with creating manageable micro-goals that ladder up to a larger goal and lead to measurable results.
Think of success as a spectrum that is structured with goals and failure is on one end and success is on the other. As you perform actions to meet different goals, you get closer to success. Because you’ve defined your goals ahead of time, you can be honest with yourself: “yes” I completed this goal or “no” I did not complete it.
I recommend creating one daily goal (and no more than three) for each area of life you’d like to measure. For the sake of ease, let’s look at sleep as an example. Let’s say that you know that you perform your best at work, as a husband, and a dad if you have at least seven hours of sleep each night. But, because it’s the end of the quarter, work is crazy and sleep could easily fall to the wayside. HOWEVER, if you make it a goal that specific day to prioritize sleep, and you follow through, not only will you feel more energized, you will actually get more work done in a 10-hour day than if you brought the work home with you, stayed up until 1:00 AM and got a lousy four hours of sleep. AND because you didn’t bring work home, you had time to shoot hoops with your son for an hour. Not only are you optimizing your sleep performance, but you’re also optimizing your work and relationships. This is success!
As another example, let’s say an area of life you’re working on is to be a better friend. Create a daily goal to reach out to one friend whether it be by text, call, or email. It’s a small action that goes a long way. As you continue to do this, you will foster more meaningful connections and you will probably begin to feel better from within—your attitude may change, you may find more joy in your life, and you will attract more love (success!). But unless you took the time to define this goal, hold yourself accountable, and track your progress toward success those feel-good vibes would be nothing more than an idea you had over lunch and forgot about 15 minutes later.
Success is not easy. It’s about holding yourself accountable to achieve your goals. It also doesn’t have to be limited to money, material things, and how far you get in your career. Make it meaningful to you. Make it about showing up for yourself and the world with purpose. Allow your success to grow through daily goals and see and feel how it allows YOU to grow and evolve within your human experience—now that is real success!