I tossed and turned all night long questioning and doubting myself. Why did ‘success’ escape me yet again? What did I do wrong? But then I thought to myself, am I asking the wrong questions? Instead shouldn’t I be asking myself these questions – what is success, and, more importantly – what successes do I want to define me?
Before I go on, let me take a step back. The situation was that our book (Build it: The rebel playbook for employee engagement) was entered for an award. It was a book I was hugely proud of, so in this situation success would be determined if we won an award. Well to cut to the end, it wasn’t even shortlisted! And to make things worse, a few months back I was entered for ‘engagement professional of the year’, and guess what, again, I wasn’t even shortlisted!
With all that I’ve done over the last year to write and publish a best-selling book, travel the world sharing the key messages and helping others and finally, helping to drive employee engagement at my previous company, Reward Gateway, surely I’d be worthy of at least being shortlisted for one of these awards?! Not! But should I care? Should I care more about the good that myself and the book have delivered? Should I really care, and have sleepless nights, based on what a group of judges have decided? Why let this define me?
I’m telling you this because I think that too often we do this to ourselves and to our employees, defining and evaluating success in the wrong way. If we truly want to achieve and feel that we’ve achieved and succeeded, we need to change how we do this! Here are my thoughts on three ways we can and should do this:
Focus on what really matters. We shouldn’t always go for the obvious definitions of success, like in my case winning awards. Focus on what will really make the biggest difference, like in my case, how many people has the book and my talks and workshops helped. Sure, celebrate awards if they happen, but think of them a ‘nice to have’ and not a ‘have to have’.
Keep things fluid. As Jill Katz talks about in her video on goal setting, we need to keep things fluid and continuous, always re-setting and re-evaluating our goals and what success looks like. By doing this we make sure that we’re aiming for what is appropriate, realistic and achievable.
Don’t forget to celebrate. I’m a big fan of celebrating, recognizing not just the actual achievements, but the steps that you take both towards and away from them. This helps keep you focussed and at the same time gives you the boost of confidence you need as you are taking the steps toward your achievements. This should include failures, or what I’ve heard called ‘learning moments’ (love it!), as this also helps you on your journey to success.
So in ending, let me thank all of you who have helped me feel successful in achieving my goals, which are to pay it forward by helping you and your companies achieve your objectives. I may not win awards for this, but you are my awards, and I will remember and celebrate these often! And, by the way, for those of you who were shortlisted and win the awards, congratulations, I am truly happy for you!