Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Measures of Success - The Problem

So after having multiple conversations over the past few days regarding success I am convinced that this is a great conversation that needs to continue for me. There are people that don't want to have any measure of success. They are happy to show up and let life happen around them. I'll tell you, I want my doctor to have measures of success. Like a zero death rate. I want the people that cook my food to have a measure of success. Like no hospitalizations. I want people to measure success and I bet you do too.

I'm not sure exactly why people shy away from defining success because I'm not one of them. I know that when you put some kind of goal out there that you can measure it can become scary because you might not reach it. And we are a culture that deifies those that reach high levels of success and we marginalize those that don't.

I really don't think there is a good argument in most areas of life not to have some kind of idea, however vague, of what success looks like. But I do understand the fear of setting yourself up for failure.

On the other hand I have seen people so driven by achieving their success that they leave a wake of relational destruction that makes any achievement of goals hollow and empty. How many broken lives have we seen and how many times have we heard the stories of people at the top losing it all, their family, their friends, their health.

So the problem to me is where do you find the balance and how do you actually define success? What does it look like in your family? In your finances? In your friendships? In your career?

I think this might be the key... Not how others have defined success. How do you define it?

The Measures of Success (Introduction)

I've had a handful of conversations recently that have got me thinking about success and the measures of success. A friend of mine and I were discussing the different values of orchestral music vs. rock. In the minds of most people under 35 rock music is way better than orchestral music. If orchestral music is going to have success in this demographic they will have to do some things differently.

We can all point to people or companies that have success in whatever field we are in. Whether it's someone in your company, organizations that just seem to hit the ball out of the park every time they do something, artists that aren't nearly as good as you that are catching all the breaks.

I'm going to take a few posts and process some of these different measures of success. Let's face it, how we determine our success will greatly impact our lives. If we don't have any measure at all we are probably missing out on opportunities that would bring a lot of fulfillment to our lives. If we measure our success in ways that are unachievable or are based on someone else's success we are going to be miserable because we will never measure up.

Where do you fall? How do you measure success?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Small Improvements

Whether you are an artist, a business person or whatever you will always have opportunities to make small improvements. Today I had the opportunity to give the message at our church. I speak in different environments all the time but this was the first time in our larger Sanctuary to a larger group of people. Each time I've had these opportunities I have tried to address one or two things to improve on, when I speak, when I play music, when I write.

What can you do to make small improvements in your art? In your business? In your whatever?

This requires some kind of assessment of what your weaknesses are, what changes to make and the ability to try those changes out.

I'm not a great speaker by any stretch but over the last couple of years I think I've gotten better. Imagine if I, if we, made small improvements over a long period of time.

Small Improvements + Time = Big Time Improvements

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What's Your Response?

So in Nehemiah, just three paragraphs after the haters show up, we see that the work has continued until they got the wall to half its height. Why? Because the people worked with all their heart. It's amazing what can be accomplished when people work with their heart.

So let's hold hands again and... nope here come the haters again. And they are angry. Now they are plotting. Now they are really stirring up trouble.

There might be a few different kinds of haters. There are certainly the snipers. They just fire off from a distance. But this group of haters in Nehemiah are getting more involved. They are moving closer.

What was Nehemiah and the people's response? "But we prayed to God". That is always a great thing to do. But this is why I wrote this post today. "But we prayed to God AND posted a guard day and night." (emphasis mine)

Many times we just want to pray things away. I tend to think that we put some of our responsibilities on God. Don't get me wrong, God is involved and working and has our best interests (not necessarily our wants) in mind. And there are some things that only God can do. But we have a responsibility as well. And sometimes those responsibilities will cost. Now they are building a wall and pulling guard duty. This is starting to get more difficult.

Should we pray? Yes. Should we post guards day and night? Yes!

So what is your response? Is everything up to God or will you do the work required as well?