What is the true definition of success? At a recent business event, I struck up this topic of conversation with a few colleagues and surprisingly many of them took awhile to answer and in fact it created quite a stir amongst us. As a member of Magazines Canada, I’m just in the midst of working with one of their travelling consultants: I’m matched with a magazine expert for a one-on-one consult, giving guidance and a fresh perspective on how our business is doing. So this idea of success struck a cord with me. It can be such a personal thing and what drives one entrepreneur may be quite different for another, so self-determining success among your peers is incredibly difficult.
By nature, we as entrepreneurs are competitive, so depending on the company we keep we may view ourselves as a high flyer or behind the curve. Perhaps one of the solutions is to never measure ourselves against anyone else and instead, establish a set of matrix that apply exclusively to us. We can step back from our business and look at our kids. Do they have a roof over their heads, food on the table, schooling paid for, and do we spend time with them? Have we crafted opportunities to give them the skills and knowledge to make it in this world? Do they have more material advantages than we had, yet have the drive to set their own pathways? If we’ve answered yes to most of these questions then I think we’ve realized a tangible return on investment. We’ve put our family first and no success of our peers can take that away.
Now, let’s shift back to the business. Is our brand well known? Do we have goodwill among customers and colleagues? Is the business bound for familial succession, or sale? Have we made efforts to maximize value upon sale or transfer? Are our personal holdings diversified beyond the business itself, and do we know why that’s important? If yes came up on top, then likely we’ve achieved return on effort we’ve put into our business and personal finances.
Are we exhausted yet? So much to think about, but I’ve been told many times that getting the estate in order is the key to creating the kind of return that lasts well beyond our lifetime.
And really, it’s among the truest measures of success, don’t you think?