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« Teach your kids to dream | Main | Learning to love frustration »

February 02, 2004


Marc Orchant

Curt - Tremendous post! This is a critical component in the objectives setting process we use at my company. We envision "wild success" whether we're talking about personal objectives (personal and professional development) or a specific project idea. Once that vision has been hammered out between the stakeholders, the sense of purpose for that activity is much clearer.

Ken Blanchard published a book not too long ago called "Full Steam Ahead" that does, in typical Blanchard storytelling fashion, a great job of getting at the underlying meaning of success.


Oh this is so important. But how to understand one's own motivations? So much second-guessing. I read a book by Carolyn See about writing, and she suggested figuring out just what a "successful writer" would look like. Ride in a limo to readings? Accept important prizes? Simply publish? Have 14 cars?

And then work toward these things. Difficult when defining one's own career outside a hierarchy.


I see two COMPLETELY different definitions of success:
* agreement in society of what success is. It really depends on the culture, circumstances, whatever. For example, in Russia of the 80s success was getting an apartment and buying a car. In United States of the 00's it is (that's me reading tea leaves :-) becoming famous and recognizable.
* Personal definition of success. My own is this: success is having made a difference in the area where you choose to do it. It does not necessarily mean reaching a specific goal (because goals not always measure the difference that was made). For example, a week ago I decided to start to exercising again. The goal was to do it every day. Well, it didn't happen (I made it 5 days out of 7), but results are already obvious. Not only I feel great, but yesterday I hurt my back while exercising :-) (that's why I sit at home today and write to the blog). Seriously, though, I do know that I made a difference, therefore I am succeeding.


P.S. Curt - thanks for unearthing such interesting topics!

Martin Spernau

Anotrher (personal) definition I came up with while deciding if something I did was a success: 'Did it leave me satisfied'?
I think maybe satisfication is the best indicator for personal success...

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