How Do You Measure Success?

How do you measure success in a job?  Anyone updating a resume or preparing for a job interview gives this question a lot of thought.

Good resumes provide specific examples of accomplishments and achievements, not just descriptions of the jobs one has held.  Often that takes a lot of words and multiple pages.  But is it possible to capture the essence of success in one sentence?  Using less words is much harder than using more.

A friend who recently left a job shared with me that he received a lot of nice emails from colleagues expressing thanks and well wishes for the future.  (We talked about the people he surprisingly never heard from too, but that’s a topic for a future blog.)

One email he received in particular stood out because in one sentence it captured the question we’re considering here perfectly.  It read, “You left this place better than you found it and in my estimation that is the measure of a person and a leader.”

Exceeding revenue goals, driving effficiencies, successfully launching new products/campaigns…these are the type of phrases that populate our resumes.  And that is as it should be so prospective employers know what we bring to the table.

But in the end isn’t the most worthy goal to make a mark by leaving something better than how we found it, even if just a little?

It may seem like an impossibly vague, daunting standard.  So let’s break it down for simplicity.  How can you make things a litte better than they were in your next team meeting or 1:1 with a colleague?  Just start there and see what happens.

Imagine if all of us could truly say that we did that, not only at work but in life in general.  That sounds like success worth measuring to me.

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