How do we define success, and how do we measure it? Owning a fast expensive automobile, having a yacht, owning several vacation homes the measurement of success. Or, is it just having a job and bringing in a steady income. For sure, success is measured in degrees.
For some people success is doing the job they were hired to do. However when people feel used doing the job they don’t feel successful, they feel manipulated. When people feel manipulated they begin to fear for their well-being. They begin to see their self-worth as valueless. Liz Ryan, contributor to Forbes magazine writes about fear in the work place. Fear can be a hindrance to success. She writes as long as fear is the central theme of the workplace culture people will only work to produce the numbers for the company (You Can’t Measure Your Way to Greatness, 2105). They do not consider themselves successful even if the company bosses see the company as successful because of the output of the workers.
Another hindrance to success is a fear of success. Several books have been written on this topic. A central theme running through all of these books is the fear of not being able to handle the position that the new success puts people in. Sometimes called fear of responsibility, People fear the added burden of responsibility may result in poor job performance. They feel too much pressure often brought on by their own anxiety. Hidden in the fear of success is really what Laura Finger in her book, The Fear of Success, calls fear of responsibility. Some people feel very comfortable given the same tasks day in and day out, but give one more item on their agenda and they feel anxious and may even complain to the boss the new task should not be their job. You may be one of those people who fear more responsibility.
Then there are those who find themselves in a position beyond their level of competency, otherwise known as the Peter Principle. The sadness in getting promoted into a position beyond the ability to perform is it puts you and your supervisor in an awkward position. Some people may be able to fake it for a while, however; at some point the lack of knowledge and skill to perform the duties of the job will come through. Instead of feeling successful, these people feel small and unworthy. It also puts the supervisor or boss in the inalienable position to demote or in some cases let these people go. One can hardly feel successful being demoted or fired. Realizing your level of competency is a measurement of success in and of itself.
Another measurement of success is how at ease people feel in the position they have. When people realize they are in “over their heads” they begin to feel anxious, irritable, and short tempered making people around them feel uneasy. Yet as these people grow into their new position, they gain confidence, begin to relax and become more competent.
You may consider yourself unsuccessful while a co-worker may feel quite successful doing the same job.
Success is a mindset as much as it is an accomplishment of goals. Yes owning a Cadillac by most standards is a sign of success. Even so, owning a Chevrolet for many people is a sign of success. Ask yourself, have I reached my goals? Are there other goals I need to work on? Am I happy where I am at? Am I satisfied with what I have? If you feel assured to the answer of these questions, you probably feel your life has been a success.
Just keep in mind success is measured in degrees and each small step reached toward a goal is an accomplishment. Success is a mindset, what you consider a success may be different than what others may consider a success. Lastly, keep in mind nobody can determine whether you are successful or not. Just because you don’t reach your objective does not mean you are a failure, it may mean you may set your sights too high and may have to readjust your goal.