I decided to break this down for myself before writing this, and it was a very worthwhile exercise. We get distracted with our current obsession with KPI’s to measure success of anything – revenue targets, profits, stock price, engagement, followers, steps per day… you get the idea… you probably have your own list of KPI’s, even if not consciously, they’re there.
Stepping back and reflecting on the bigger picture, though. I broke down what aspects of my life were important to me – my career, family, hobbies, health, and my dreams. I also started feeling far less guilty about working on one of them and not another on any given day. It was all progress toward the betterment of my life and those around me. Isn’t that success?
The Time Factor
Time is short, and we can only focus on one thing at a time. Each day is an opportunity to move the dial a little bit in these different areas of our lives. By making small progress, we can consider ourselves successful. Without feeling guilty about the areas we don’t focus on. Let’s break it down.
Beyond climbing the corporate ladder or earning a high salary, we need professional fulfilment and purpose. What we do needs to mean something or somehow activate the values which define us. Learning a new skill, taking on a challenging project, making a positive impact on our colleagues and clients, or engaging in deliberate practice of our day-to-day work. All these things, move the dial.
The main area we think of when we say “work-life balance”. My struggle in this area is the guilt I felt when I have some work to finish, but I know it’s taking away time I could spend just playing with my kids (who were building their LEGO “toilet hotel” because they thought it would be funny). And, the feeling of inadequacy goes both ways because when I do play with them, that damned piece of work keeps taking up space in my head. I’ve come to realise that, with my finite time, I can only do one of them… and I should pick one and focus, because they both move the dial, but they also have their own specific time and place for focus in my day. So when I’m home at the end of the day, the work can wait, it’s family time.
If your work aligns with your passion, that’s great! But, it’s not always the case, so taking time for something you WANT to do is important. Schedule time to paint, play piano, go hiking, or start a side hustle. Without fulfilment in this area, life will become a drag and you will become resentful. Moving this dial help enhance your well-being beyond your day-to-day.
This is a no-brainer, you know what it is and it’s simple. It’s also easy to put in place because you have to eat, and you have to move everyday. Start small, if you don’t want to diet and restrict foods you love, keep them and start an Intermittent fasting schedule. For exercise, if the gym is not for you, try walking more than you are and see how you can increase from there. It’s not rocket science – move and eat well.
Because these are big and long-term, we tend to forget them. Keep them top of mind and make small progress day-by-day or week-by-week. Start a business, write a book, or plan travelling the world. Small steps towards your bigger goals are important. You need to see and feel progress towards something in your life, so you don’t end up at 40 with a midlife crisis.
Success, and our achievement of it, hides in our day-to-day. Move any of the dials a little bit every day, and you’re winning… you’re successful.