Measuring Success

A book blogger friend of mine posted this over the weekend: The Honest to Goodness Truth about Comments. While I wanted to comment right away, it got lost in my iPad with its refusal to link through my Open ID. Blah. By now I’ve all but forgotten the encouraging comment I had (one of the drawbacks of a newborn keeping me up all night), but my question remains on my mind.

How do you measure success?

Success ought to be achieving goals that you set out for yourself, but it isn’t that simple. While we place goals in front of ourselves, the pieces that determine whether or not we are successful are often out of our hands. Do you set straightforward goals with singular paths to achieve them?

Sometimes it isn’t about giving up or staying the course. Sometimes it is about how success is defined. Another friend of mine, Michelle Tuesday, runs a music school. A guy came in one day to sell her the option of a better page rank. Michelle knows her page rank, her analytics, and how to reach her customers. A page rank may or may not lead to more students in her school. She defines success as keeping her students happy and building her studio. These are measurable goals and she can track how she’s doing.

I sometimes have issues with this. While I am not counting the comments in my success, I love to get them. I can see how when so much time is spent crafting posts to put in the blog that it can be easy to see that lack as a failure whether it is or not. How many other things are easier to count as failures rather than how success ought to be measured? Is this just another way we give ourselves permission to give up on our pursuits?

I remember when I sold lia sophia jewelry I had a manager who defined success as getting out there. She encouraged us to get ‘no’ answers, because we were trying. I wrote the word NO on a piece of paper 50 times trying to hear that from my customers. While I think I did manage to get yes as an answer, I did also hear the word No a lot. The trick was not to let it shut you down. Getting out there meant becoming a success.

In some ways I treat my creative pursuits the same way. I get out there. I send stories for publication. I share them with friends. I blog and keep up with Facebook and converse on Twitter. Has that sold a million copies of my book? Not even close. Here and there my book does get shared, and every now and then I get feedback from someone who read it. That is what I love. I know I’m out there. I’m sharing with people. It won’t make me rich, but it does make me happy.

Next time you set a goal for yourself, try to make sure that the path to success is within your ability to achieve. What other ways do you define success?

2 thoughts on “Measuring Success

  1. Having your sole measuring stick of success based in an extrinsic format (i.e. comments) is a recipe for disaster. I look at every comment as a bonus :-). Seems like you have a healthy outlook on success.

  2. Thanks. I’m not sure if it’s the best outlook, but it is a work in progress.

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