December 20, 2014

6 Benchmarks That Gauge Success

How do you measure and gauge your success today? Is success all that you thought it was cracked up to be?  By definition, success is a noun: “the favorable outcome of something attempted.”

success graph

The answers to the two questions above are tied into the lens we look through at any place in our life cycle. Each place in that cycle is real, legitimate and important. The question and answer of how we gauge our success has dramatically changed for most of us in the past few years, as we have seen our circumstances and assets change. That has gotten me thinking about what the benchmarks are today that gauge success for me.

I have seen people’s health, financial security, family structure, business and career path and stability change in the snap of a finger. My life path has changed more in five years than in the prior two decades!

If success is about the favorable outcome of things we attempt, then I measure success today through these six benchmarks.

1) Making Quality Life Connections
Nurturing and improving long-term, healthy relationships with family, friends and colleagues

2) Engaging in Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Working at and integrating work/ life balance, diet, exercise, stress management, hobbies and fascinations

3) Working on My Spiritual Condition
Going within and underneath the exterior, to our values, beliefs, acceptance, tolerance, paying forward and connectedness

4) Exercising My Willingness to Learn
Always challenging and pushing my ability to stay open to new ideas, skills and learning

5) Having Resilience to Change
Embracing, accepting, dealing with and arming myself for unexpected change

5) Building Networks and Support Systems
Continually building strong, mutual personal and professional communities and connections–and using them

6) Staying in and Living in the Now
Focus on the only reality that I have, which is the day I am in, and making the absolute most of it

Gauging my success today has very little to do with material success alone, which is  fleeting without these benchmarks. Material success is a manifestation of these benchmarks and comes with a quiet resolve to enjoy and share them with all who make them possible to have and achieve.

Seriously, I don’t know anyone who has sustained happiness and success without these benchmarks as a foundation. Just ask any of the many examples of people who have crashed and burned because of greed and fraud. The universe sees right through that, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.

What are the benchmarks that gauge your success today?


Image from violetkaipa/Shutterstock

15 Comments ▼

Deborah Shane


Deborah Shane Deborah Shane is a past staff writer for Small Business Trends covering marketing, branding and social media topics. She is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media specialist. Deborah hosts her Top 100 Small Business Podcast weekly. Her book #trusthewhy Fundamentals, Values and Humor Get You Through Anything and award winning "Career Transition: Make the Shift" (2011) are available through all major book sellers.

15 Reactions

  1. Excellent advice, both personally and professionally. We emphasize these benchmarks at our company, and support employees’s efforts in 5 of the 6 areas. The most challenging area I am finding is the 6th benchmark – Living in the here and now. Any suggestions for growth in this area are always welcome! Thanks for the reminder to focus on what’s truly more important in life.

  2. Thanks for a thought provoking article. I agree with your principle that success needs to be measured in a balanced way.

    In my own experience running a small consulting company in Melbourne, Australia, let me add that it is all-too-easy to start focusing on one aspect of success, and only later realising that other aspects are being compromised.

    It could be a focus on material success, which may be at the expense of fulfilling relationships with family and friends.

    I think your article is a timely reminder to stay vigilant and do a regular audit measuring our performance on all the holistic success indicators that we value.

    Thanks Deborah

    • Brian, greetings mate! Love my Australian friends! It’s tried and true that what fills the black whole is what sustains us. Money helps but is not the top happiness quotient. Thanks for stopping by and your thoughtful comment.

  3. Great post Deborah – I really like point 5 about a willingness to change. Thank you for sharing. – Mitt

  4. Deborah, this post is right on time for my year-end assessment. The problem with measuring success these days is that most of us tend to measure it by quantity; not by quality. I love that you listed items that many of us might have forgotten in the quest to making our next $$$ goal. Attaining work-life balance is still a journey for me and I’m hoping it will be my next destination. Happiness is elusive, others may say, but that depends on your perspective. Thanks for the wake up call.

  5. Mitt, without an enhanced willingness to change, especially these days no business can survive. Glad you stopped by!

  6. Shaleen, keep traveling and working at it. It’s a daily process. Make it all work for you, in the best plan for you! Thanks for your comment.

  7. I love how none of these benchmarks relate to anything monetary. Instead, it’s all about intangible things and relationships. Thanks for this article! I posted it on http://www.facebook.com/nametaginc.

  8. Great article, thanks! I really agree with you that building up a network and support system is very important!

  9. Great article!
    Having transitioned from Corporate to Self employment and staying in the game, I can understand the value of

    this article. It is a MUST read for every entrepreneur.

    [edited to remove link]

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