Tag Archives: success

How to measure success

Gästinlägg av Simon Sinek

This journey I’m on is a deeply personal one.

When I put words to this thing called the Why, it completely changed the direction of my life. Not a single thing I’m doing these days – not the speaking, not the book, not even this column – was a part of any plan. How could they be on a plan? I couldn’t even imagine them.

With all that has happened in the past few years, someone asked me a question recently that really made me think: “How will you know when you’re successful?”

I know there’s a difference between being successful and feeling successful. And if you ask me if I feel successful, the honest answer is “not yet”. By most standard measurements, I am enjoying more success now than at any other time in my life, but I still don’t feel successful. This is what makes the question so fantastic. If the goal is to feel successful, what is the measurement we should use to achieve that feeling?

The most common standard measurement is money – our bank accounts. That’s how so many people measure their success today, so perhaps it works?

I went to an event for high-performing entrepreneurs and the question was asked of the room, “How many of you have achieved your financial goals?”. Amazingly, 80% of the room raised their hand. Then the question was asked, “How many of you feel successful?” and 80% of the hands went down. This example alone shows that there is little to no connection between the standard measurement of success and the feeling of success.

I for one have never been motivated by the money. Most years, if you were to ask me how much I make, the genuine answer is that I have no clue. I usually find out the answer to that question once a year, at tax time, when my accountant tells me. And if money were the only measurement, we’d all have a number in our minds that, if we reached it, we’d stop working. And most of us don’t. No matter how much I make, I don’t want to stop working. Money doesn’t help me answer that question.

Some would argue that you’re as successful as the company you keep. Certainly there is a connection between our friends and who we are. James Fowler talked about it a couple of years ago in a piece called “Do Your Friends Make You Fat?”. But can we really measure our success based simply on the company we keep? For example, are Vincent Chase’s buddies in the HBO series Entourage successful because they hang out with someone rich and famous? Most of us would say no. Sometimes the opposite happens. Sometimes spending time with someone who is perceived as “successful” can make us feel less successful. The irony is that regardless of how successful we think someone is, we don’t actually know if they feel successful.

Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with people I never imagined even meeting. At two events this week, for example, I shared the stage with The Tipping Point author, Malcolm Gladwell, and David Bach, author of The Automatic Millionaire, respectively. It was so exciting to spend time with them and it was fantastic to get to soak up some of their genius. I cannot dispute that having the opportunity to work with them certainly is an indicator that things are moving in the right direction, but it didn’t make me feel successful. For me, the best thing about spending time with people I admire is the opportunity to ask them questions and learn from them. Though spending time with them doesn’t make me feel successful, their ideas and their thinking absolutely contribute to making my own work better, which, of course, helps me advance. But it doesn’t yet answer the question.

My friend Georgia Hurd is not famous. She’s not rich. And she’s not yet attained the success she desires. She moved to Los Angeles to become an actress and has been working really hard to achieve her dream. She has been through some hard times. Money has been tight. Her work schedule often hurts her social life. But she perseveres. Her work ethic and her drive are amazing. She is so focused on where she wants to go. It is inspiring. After a couple of years of pushing and lots of wondering if it would ever happen, she’s starting to get some momentum. This week alone, she was called in to do a modeling job for American Apparel, she had some fantastic auditions and people are starting to take notice of her. What Georgia has found is momentum. It is that momentum that makes her feel good. It is the momentum that makes her feel successful.

This is my measurement: Momentum.

That’s what I want to track and measure. Money and the people I meet are stepping stones, indicators that momentum is building – but it is the momentum that makes me feel good.

Studies show that over 90% of Americans don’t feel fulfilled by their work. Think about that. The vast majority of Americans go home at the end of the day without the feeling of success.

I imagine a world in which that statistic is reversed. That most people go to work every day to a job they love and go home at the end of the day feeling fulfilled. That’s the world I’m working to build. My contribution is to share a message that can help make that dream a reality. But only when others join me in this cause; to help spread the message; to build the companies that people love to work for; and to choose jobs based on how the job makes them feel, not simply how much it pays, will this dream become a reality.

I know momentum is building. That, more than any other measurement, makes me feel successful.

So what of the original question, “How will you know when you’re successful?”

The answer: When I reach a level of momentum when the movement can advance without me – then I will feel successful.

Simon Sinek undervisar företagsledare i konsten att inspirera människor. Han konsulterar, skriver och håller tal runt om i världen om kraften i ett tydligt Varför – om syftet, meningen, tron på något som en stark drivkraft hos oss alla. Simons lika enkla som geniala idé, The Golden Circle, är baserad på biologin bakom människans beslutsprocess.

Simon bor i New York, där han undervisar i strategisk kommunikation på Columbia University.
Hans första bok, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, kom ut i oktober 2009.

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Relaterat:

Micco på Twitter ___ The Brand-Man på Facebook

This post is also published on Re:Focus.

It takes two

Gästinlägg av Simon Sinek

Walt Disney was the visionary, the man who took the risk, but his brother, Roy Disney, brought the dream to life.

Martin Luther King was the man with the dream, but it was Ralph Abernathy, a man whose name has been long forgotten, who stood up after Dr. King and told people what to do.

Bill Gates was the Why guy who imagined a PC on every desk. Bill Gates imagined a world in which we would all be able to achieve our true potential. But it was Paul Allen, lurking in the shadows, who knew How to make it happen.

No matter how clear the vision, no matter how high the risk tolerance, a leader is nothing without the first person to stand up and join.

For a movement to grow, for an idea to spread and for a company to become something special – it takes two.

The dancer is Why. The first follower is How. When those two unite – watch What happens.
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Simon Sinek undervisar företagsledare i konsten att inspirera människor. Han konsulterar, skriver och håller tal runt om i världen om kraften i ett tydligt Varför – om syftet, meningen, tron på något som en stark drivkraft hos oss alla. Simons lika enkla som geniala idé, The Golden Circle, är baserad på biologin bakom människans beslutsprocess.

Simon bor i New York, där han undervisar i strategisk kommunikation på Columbia University.
Hans första bok, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, kom ut i oktober 2009.

_

Relaterat:

Micco på Twitter ___ The Brand-Man på Facebook

This post is also published on Re:Focus.

The final score doesn’t matter

Gästinlägg av Simon Sinek

The fans watching the game in a local sports bar in New York went wild. They cheered and celebrated. They couldn’t believe their team had done it. This was possibly one of the great upsets in sports.

An ocean away, fans watching in a pub in London were devastated. How could this have happened? Their team should have won.

And so it was. The final score recorded into history to mark this occasion. 1:1. That’s right, the final score was 1:1 – the US soccer team had tied the British team in the first round of 2010 World Cup. The Americans celebrated the win. The Brits mourned the loss.

But the last time I checked, 1:1 was a tie. There was no winner and there was no loser.

Or was there?

The final score, as it turns out, does not exist in a vacuum. A score may be an objective measurement of achievement, but its value is a relative measurement to our expectations.

An “A” student who gets a B, for example, feels disappointment. A “C” student who gets a B feels ecstatic. Their objective achievement is the same, but their feelings toward their grade, the value of their grade to them, is relative to the expectations others had for them.

This is what happened in the World Cup game. The British were the A students and the Americans were the C students. And in this case – the Americans were able to match the might of the British.

It was, in relative terms, a win.

The definition of ”winning”, then, includes a subjective element – when what we actually achieve surpasses the expectations others think we could achieve. The American team believed they could match the British, even if everyone else thought they couldn’t. Had the American team bought into the expectations others had for them, then their loss would have been inevitable because they would have played believing they had to lose.

Expectations are different from hopes or desires. Expectations are a calculation. They come from the evaluation of data – the British team was much better. They had won more games. Their players were objectively better, and so on. Even if American fans hoped their team would win, based on the data, they didn’t think they could win.

This is what makes the underdog so appealing. What the underdog believes they can do goes beyond what others think they can do. Though we root for the underdog, we still expect them to lose. It’s rational. This is why belief in oneself, confidence, is so important.

Success is when reality catches up to your imagination.

The innovator believes something can be done when others think it can’t. The entrepreneur believes a solution exists for a problem others think unsolvable (if they even recognize the problem in the first place).

And this is why optimists are the most important people of all. They believe every one of us can achieve more than we think we can. They push us and they inspire us. They are able to convert our rational assessment of our abilities (thinking) into drive and passion (belief).

The American coach inspired his team to believe they could do something others thought they couldn’t. All great leaders do. They fundamentally believe in people and what they can do.

As for the lesson: If you’re doing things that everyone around you thinks you can achieve, and all the evidence would support their thoughts, then you’re not pushing yourself hard enough.

That doesn’t mean working towards some ridiculous goal that even you don’t believe is possible. Rational achievement happens based on the score. The feeling of achievement, however, comes when you work to the limit of your own beliefs, and if that limit goes beyond what others think you can do you will feel like you won. Even if you only achieve partial success. Even if you only tie the game, those who didn’t think you could do it will start to believe in you, too.

And when people believe in you, they will rally for you, support you, send resources your way, introduce you to people and help pave the way for you to succeed.

And that’s when objective success is easier to achieve.

Though the facts may remain the same, they will support you for no other reason than they now believe in you and think you can do it, too.

Simon Sinek undervisar företagsledare i konsten att inspirera människor. Han konsulterar, skriver och håller tal runt om i världen om kraften i ett tydligt Varför – om syftet, meningen, tron på något som en stark drivkraft hos oss alla. Simons lika enkla som geniala idé, The Golden Circle, är baserad på biologin bakom människans beslutsprocess.

Simon bor i New York, där han undervisar i strategisk kommunikation på Columbia University.
Hans första bok, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, kom ut i oktober 2009.

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Relaterat:

Micco på Twitter ___ The Brand-Man på Facebook

This post is also published on Re:Focus.