Is success about the journey or the destination?
There is so much talk about setting goals and getting clear on your vision. Are these enough to ensure success? After all, you’re making it very clear what the destination is, so surely you’ll know success when you get there, right?
Let’s look at a sporting analogy; let’s say, winning a gold medal at the Olympic Games. Success is achieved when that medal is achieved i.e. the destination. The goals along the way might be to gain a top 10 placing 3 years out from the Olympics, a podium finish in the World Champs in the year of the Olympics and then the ultimate goal being that gold medal.
Equally in business, setting the vision makes it easier for you and your team to know where the business is headed. Give yourself a tick if you’ve done this. That vision can then be broken down into smaller goals to be achieved along the way. Again, a big tick if you’re regularly updating your goals.
But what happens if you don’t reach that ultimate goal? What happens if you achieve a bronze medal? Have you been a failure? If your business vision was a $5m turnover and 95% customer and team satisfaction level and you fall short of that have you not succeeded? Of course not.
Far too often we spend too much time striving for our definition of success. The classic head down approach putting in the hours, grinding out the work in an often miserable state, because we believe this will get us to that nirvana happiness level of success in the future.
Why not reverse engineer our definition of success; instead of focusing so much on the destination (important as it is), remember to focus on the journey. What are our work parameters (hours of work, time off, type of work, types of customers) and what successes can we celebrate along the way?
It’s the same in sport; the Olympian that gains a bronze medal will have achieved, no doubt, some personal bests along the way, a supreme level of fitness, great health and a sense of satisfaction after all the hours of work.
So, let’s remember to define success based on the journey we are taking; the wins we are achieving and the differences we are making to other peoples’ lives. The more we celebrate these successes the closer we are likely to get to that destination anyway – we’ll just be happier in the process!
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it’s the courage to continue that counts – Winston Churchill
What are your measures of success? List 3 things about your current way of working that need to change: