Measuring Success

posted on 5/1/2017 in Blog

Success is a loaded word. It has a universal and personal meaning to all of us. It’s something each of us strive for, but never in the same way. It’s arriving at a destination that means we did it. We achieved something. And for a lot of us, success feels rare and hard earned.

I’d like to propose to you a new truth. That truth is: you experience success every day. This can only be true, if we embrace the word progress the same way we celebrate success. Progress is extremely underrated.  As a whole, we experience progress much more often than we feel successful. That is a downright shame because success is nothing without progress. You don’t wake up one morning, decide to be the next national champion in heavy weight lifting, and spend your entire day breaking records. That’s not how the world works. There’s a lot of training, and perseverance, and small victories (aka PROGRESS) involved in becoming the champion of just about anything.

So where to start? That’s often the scariest part, am I right? It’s scary because our dreams are big and often feel impossible. How do you start to achieve something huge and important to you? And how do you keep going? Starting can feel discouraging, because the changes aren’t immediate. Believe me, I know, it’s hard. The good news is that, there are resources for this kind of thing! Can you believe it?!

Okay I know this isn’t news. But I do want to point you in the direction of one of my favorite resources out there: The Passion Planner! I’m pretty sure almost everyone in our Des Moines office has and uses a passion planner regularly. It’s one of the most helpful gifts I’ve ever received and I’d like to tell you why.

Starting with a passion planner means creating a passion roadmap (pictured below).


My favorite part of the passion roadmap is that it allows you to dream big. It starts by asking you very generally to list things you know you want to do in your lifetime. Then it asks about things you want to achieve in the next three years. How about in the next year? And finally, what about the next three months? It doesn’t dismiss anything you want in this life as an impossibility, it simply encourages you to ask yourself “how?” before continuing.

Then, you take those big goals and put an imaginary microscope to them. You look closely and find things you can achieve now. Ways you can contribute to this goal and move forward in your journey. If you look at the image with the roadmap to “get healthy” you’ll see they have listed ways they want to improve their health—sleep, meditation, meal prep—and below those items they have specific steps to take towards achieving it.

We all know these are good, logical steps toward achieving a healthy lifestyle. This may not seem like new information to anyone. However, I personally, have never succeeded in my health goals when I just decide to meditate. The decision isn’t totally useless—but it’s not effective unless I’ve given myself a specific amount of time each day, or written in a time on my calendar to meditate. The Passion Planner enables and encourages you to plan for these things, and to be honest with yourself about what’s possible and what you really want.   

We all feel stuck sometimes, and often that feeling of being stunted in your own growth can stretch for long periods of time. It’s gruesome and exhausting, but I have to ask. If we’re so tired during those times, don’t you think it’s possible that we are experiencing some form of growing pains? It’s time to try something new. We’re ready to reach our goals, one victory at a time. And if that’s not a success, I don’t know what is. 

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