For many years the only tool that I used to measure my fitness was my scale. My entire definition of success was based on whether the number on the scale was lower than it was the last time I weighed. As someone whose weight fluctuates wildly even from day to day, this single measurement yielded much frustration and discouragement. Often even when I would do everything right, my weight would not budge and I would quit whatever latest weight loss fad or fitness program I had started.
As I’ve gotten older (and fatter) I’ve realized that I have got to focus on a bigger picture. I made the decision that I would watch the scale but EVEN IF my weight did not go down, I was going to remain committed to improving my physical fitness. I now have a lengthy list of criteria that measure my success — how my clothes fit, if I am able to increase the mileage I run or bike, how I feel, and whether I exercised 3 – 5 days a week whether I wanted to or not. EVEN IF I never see the number I hope for on the scale, I will keep going because I have learned to change how I measure success.
Likewise, the single factor that I used to measure my success in my career previously was my income. It wasn’t that I was overly obsessed with money but I am a very competitive person. My line of work is sales and in sales, income is how you keep score. If my career success was measured by income alone, then the “pinnacle” of my career just so happens to be the time in my life when I was most unhappy.
In his book “How Will You Measure Your Life?”, author Clayton M. Christensen reminds us that “beyond a certain point, factors such as money, status, compensation and job security are much more a by-product of being happy with a job rather than the cause of it. Realizing this frees us to focus on the things that really matter.”
I’m not saying that income is not a valuable measurement of success in our business any less than weight is a valuable measurement of my success in fitness. The difference is that when I began to measure my success by other criteria, the number on the scale went down (45 pounds so far!) and my income went up. Thanks to our successful virtual tour business, we now have less debt, more disposable income, and much more happiness than I have in decades. And as Dr. Christensen so eloquently points out, the happier I am, the higher our income is from our virtual tour business.
Decide how YOU will measure YOUR success. Focus less on numbers and more on doing something you love and that you believe matters. Chances are good that if you use this as your measure of success, the income will follow.