Measuring Success in the Journey
We live in a world that seems to only ask, “What have you done for me lately?” You see this in sports as coaches and players who were able to win four years ago are questioned when the team starts losing. You see this in business when leaders get frustrated at the pace of making change.
And you see this in ourselves in our own goals. We get frustrated with ourselves when we aren't accomplishing what we wanted. We believe we're not moving fast enough, or that we're not accomplishing as much as we wanted to.
And that there is still. So. Much. To do.
Along the way, we ask ourselves that question: “What have you done lately?” It’s a question that can cause us to become unhappy with what we've done, with what we've been able to complete to get us started in the journey. And what's left to do
But sometimes we forget that making change is hard. In our business. With our teams. Within ourselves.
Avoid the temptation to ask yourself this taxing question and instead try to focus on the journey you took to accomplishing your goals. Here are five ways to measure success and help you reframe your mindset:
Write it out Before you begin, write out all the things you want to do. This isn't necessarily a project plan, but rather a document that lists out what you want to accomplish. If you like to make lists, write down the big things, the small things, and everything in between. You'll get to check off a lot of stuff along the way, which also makes you feel good! If you're more visual, create a vision board that has statements or even pictures of what you want to accomplish. In either case, it'll be important to go back to this often to help you remember where you are going and what you've done to get there.
Recognize what you've accomplished Let's say you've skipped the first step. No worries. I won't shame. But similar to the above, list out all the things you've accomplished since you've started your journey. Think as specific and small as possible.
Celebrate key milestones At the very least, give yourself a "good job" for what you've done. Reinforce the steps you've taken to get you where you are, regardless of whether you feel like you've done enough. This will help you successfully move forward so you start to create the habit of celebrating the accomplishments along the way. Keep up the “atta boys,” but also look for key milestones that you can celebrate.
Acknowledge the lessons along the way This is what everyone starts to do when they start doubting what they've done. So don't jump to this step without going through the first three. This creates the mindset of looking for lessons rather than picking out mistakes. Ask yourself what could have gone differently that you can apply to the rest of the journey.
Don't forget to include others If you're trying to accomplish a personal endeavor, share your goals and accomplishments with close friends or family. They can help you remember where you started and where you're trying to go. If you're leading a team, have the team help you create the vision. Recognize accomplishments, pull out lessons, and celebrate milestones—definitely the celebrations. They may be feeling the same as you.
Following these steps allows you to remember what matters most: Where you want to be and the journey that gets you there. Be sure to look back as often as you need to remember all that you're accomplishing.