Success can be measured in many different ways. A successful career may include prominence in an industry supplemented with a high level of income. A successful day may be a day in which the “to do” list was finished before noon. There are many ways to define and measure success and everyone has their own views and opinions. But no matter which way it is looked at, success can best be defined as the result of a series of positive changes and influences that led to an achievement of a particular goal. The unfortunate mistake that most people make is that they look for success to come to them, rather than making success happen for them. That process can begin with personal strategic planning.
Corporations big and small get involved in strategic planning. Their goal through strategic planning is to find ways to maximize the organization of the business to increase their ROE, or return on equity. ROE simply refers to the return on the capital invested in the enterprise. By reorganizing, prioritizing, and shifting resources from areas of lower value to areas of higher potential value, the ROE in the business can be increased. That very same approach can be used in your own personal strategic planning. The ultimate goal of achievement, or success, is the same. How you go about it is dependent on what areas of your life need improvement (areas of low value) and which ones are going well (areas of higher potential value).
Behaviorists and life coaches have identified that our goals and achievements (our ROE) can be divided into four basic categories. The four basic categories are: a desire for happy relationships; a desire for interesting and challenging work; a desire for financial independence; a desire for good health. Everything that we do in life is an attempt to enhance one or more of these areas and improve our overall quality of life. The common denominator of these four goals, and the essential requirement for achieving each of them is that they require you to take charge. Happy relationships do not happen, they are built. If work is dull and boring, change jobs. Financial independence is earned (unless you are lucky enough to win the lottery), not given. Good health is a choice, not a right. In fact, good health is the one that most of us take for granted until something happens to it.
In the business world, companies have financial capital. Think of yourself as possessing human capital (mental, emotional, and physical). Just as a company works to increase their ROE, so should you individually work on your ROE. Without getting into too much information on how to improve your life in all four categories, the best step forward is to look no further than a mirror. There are so many little things you can do right now that will lay a foundation for success. Since good health is often overlooked, I can think of no place better to start.
Time and time again, you will hear how proper exercise, diet, and rest are essential to health and prosperity, yet as a society we do not focus on any one of them 100%. That is where a proper attitude also comes into play. The right frame of mind can open doors once thought to be never opened. Everything that you do counts in some way. It is either going to help you or its going to hurt you. It will either propel you towards your goal or move you farther away from it. The only one who can make that is assessment is you. Good, bad, wrong, or right – our decisions are what they are. How we learn from them and move forward will ensure greater success than the one who never tries.
As mentioned before, success is the result of hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of tiny efforts that nobody may ever see or appreciate except yourself. These
tiny efforts, sacrifices, and disciplines accumulate to make you an extraordinary and successful person. In every area of life, it is the quality of the time, not quantity, that you put into your actions and decisions that determines the rewards life can give. No one is going to understand or appreciate better than you – and that is worth the investment.
Featured in November 2004 Issue of 422 Business Advisor