The Most Dangerous Way to Measure Success

Only you know if you’re accomplishing who you set out to be. Stop looking around at silvery glimpses of other people’s lives and judging yourself. Trust me, you don’t know the whole story. We never can. Define success on your own terms and stick to it.

“A man should look for what is, and not for what he
thinks should be.”
~ Albert Einstein

Oh, there’s big inspiration in success and possibility, but be sure it resonates with your life strategy. It’s easy to measure a single dimension of success by trophies and other trappings. Great leaders and great human beings set their own benchmarks of success.

Laura’s Story

“I just love coming to the National Speakers Association convention, but I had to stop coming for a while.”

I was sure my new friend, Laura, (not her real name) was going to tell me about tight finances, a booked business calendar, or kid’s soccer schedules.

Instead Laura confided:

“Don’t get me wrong. The convention has always been amazing. The trouble is, I would be totally happy before I came. I loved my life. I had a strong business which I juggled well with the priority of raising my children. But then I would come to the convention and see how much everyone else was doing to build their speaking career, and I would get depressed thinking of all the things I should be doing.  For a while it was just easier to stay away.”

“How do you feel about your choices now?” I asked. Laura lit up:

“Fantastic, my kids are all good human beings doing well in the world. I was able to involve them in some of my travel as I built the business, and also to be around. I built a strong foundation for my career and now that the kids are older, I’m making more discretionary money which we’re using for big family vacations with our grown kids. They want to hang out with us. I feel really good about my choices. I have no regrets.”

We talked about motherhood and values, and raising children deliberately (and saving money for vacations). I couldn’t resist: “You might really enjoy my e-book on developing leadership in kids…it’s free.

“Want me to send you a copy?”

“No way! She replied.”

Now I was a bit puzzled, surely she would resonate.

Laura shared matter of factly:

“Every time I read a book like that I feel I SHOULD have written it, and it makes me sad.”

I imagine more than a few folks have told her she SHOULD write a book.The most dangerous “shoulds” were still lingering inside her.

The Power of Shoulds

Shoulds are powerful and dangerous. “Should haves” are an energy-sucking waste of time. Be sure your shoulds are your own. If they won’t shut up, turn your “should haves” into concrete plans.