I often wonder what success looks like in a community. Be it work, friends, or family, what is the ideal result? Would it be specific outcomes? Could I measure it by milestones and achievements? Is it something other than things that one measures.
At different stages in my journey I have defined success differently. Early in my career it was all about results. In response to needs, I told people what I was going to do. I looked for their agreement and then I documented how we would measure success. I took feedback and input along the way. If something changed, I moved in harmony with the change. When I hit the target, I was sure to let my stakeholders know.
I found it very confusing when I hit every success measure and was not rewarded appropriately.
Midway through my career I saw success in a new way. Measures were important, however exceeding expectations trumped everything else. When I set my goals, I documented what my client (stakeholder) said s/he expected. The measures were important. However, the understanding that went behind them was critical. As time went by, I continued to adjust my success measures by the evolving expectations. When I achieved the targets, I always started my update with echoing the client’s expectations.
As I approach a new phase, I look at success differently. Yes, expectations, measures, and goals are important. They are one type of measure. From my viewpoint, they are not criteria that define success. Success comes when others share your ideals and values from the inside out. Success is found when people trust each other enough to be vulnerable and open.
One writer captured my definition of success. “We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.” (1 John 4.16) Success starts at the core of who and what we are. It finds life in our choices and actions. When a community embraces compassion, I know I have been successful. The final outcome is not about money or recognition. Success is its own reward.