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Success Looks Like What You Measure Every Day

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Success also looks like what you say in ordinary conversation

What are your gauges of success?

tumblr_mebpn3ITkL1qg39ewo1_500-12052012Does success look like sitting behind the big desk in the corner office? Perhaps it looks like podium in front of a collection of esteemed colleagues. Or maybe success looks like owning your own company or cabin or cabin cruiser or cabinet full of liquor.

We all hold these success images in our brains, even if we’ve never actually explained them to ourselves, let alone anyone else. And yet those images shape where we go.

It’s worthwhile asking where those images lead. Where does your picture of success lead your work or writing or relationships? Keep that question abstract, at a level that cannot be measured and which shows no progress, forward or back, and the image still has power to direct, but more like a mirage.

But when we assign numbers to our image of success, and when we look at those numbers daily, things start to change. Especially when we have taken our big dreams and broken them into day-sized goals. Then our progress (or lack) is obvious. Now we see clearly because the numbers on the scale don’t lie. I’m a numbers person—I measure all sorts of stuff, from writing goals to minutes of exercise (I wish I could write “hours”) to weight (Oy!). Those numbers remain as a cold slap in the ego.

Today I found myself explaining to a new friend one goal for this blog and for the work I do: I’d like to connect work and faith in a way that I’ve not seen before. I’d like to recognize work as much, much more than a platform for verbal persuasion. The old models of integrating work and faith seem more about dropping preachers into the hostile, alien territory of commerce so they can set up a church service. As a boss, I would not welcome such integration (we’re here to work, after all).

Instead, I’d like to convince all of us that the work itself is chock full of rich meaning and is actually part of why we were put on earth. I’d like to connect our work to how we were made to our service to others (in agreement with the inveterate letter writer), which all connects back to the One who put us here.

I’ve just told you my (still abstract) image of what success looks like. I maintain that telling our image of success is another kind of measuring stick. Even if the person we tell never holds us accountable, we have said it aloud and now we know for sure one more dimension of that far off land called success.


Image credit:  2headedsnake

Written by kirkistan

December 5, 2012 at 1:11 pm

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