If you have been successful in your career to any degree, you will have come across the question – ‘what does success actually mean – for me’? Because, the traditional measures of success – the salary, the position, the money and benefits, the car – do pall after a time, and for some, it is replaced by a nagging feeling that the success that you have, just isn’t it.
In fact, for many people I have worked with, the drive to meet some need that they have not yet identified, becomes the focus of their concern. It is surprising, because often, the objectives that we start with, are highly business focused.
- To develop my department’s business plan, aligning it with our organisation’s strategy.
- To strengthen my relationships with Board members and be seen as part of their succession.
- To learn how to manage my people more effectively.
- To be a better mentor and coach to people in our business.
- To acquire the leadership skills I need to provide stronger direction to my team
- To become a stronger influencer of others and make an impact on our business
Yet, over the course of my career, I have worked closely with over 1000 senior executives, often for more than six months and some of their most fascinating and interesting concerns have been:
To live more intensely;
- to explore and analyse the important issues of life
- to investigate a deeper meaning of life and work,
- to explore what is true and false in those issues that confront me
- to personally grow and express more of who I am,
- to transform through insight and understanding to what is meaningful and important to me.
And even though we will address and spend time on the solid business objectives, still, the more personal, deeply meaningful matters come up as important. So, these are also issues that we work with and address in our work together.
When people have achieved success, it’s then that they find it easiest to explore the hard questions of why they do what they do. To ask, as if they have now earnt the right ‘What’s important, significant, and valuable to me and my life?’ And not to settle for the classic accepted answers – position, power and money, but to search for answers to questions that are unique to them. Such as
‘What allows you to be the most you?’
People who have done this nature of personal work, often change how they work, even if they stay in the same business. They might choose to take a stand against any de-humanising processes within their business and look for ways to help others find their unique contribution for earlier success. They may choose different pathways for personal and team success, advocating greater learning and development, team collaboration and inclusive business processes; such as two way communication processes and even power sharing with a broader business community.
When you stop thinking of success as something that is measurable by others but as something you recognise in terms of personal happiness, fulfilment and fuller expression of you, you will find novel and more satisfying ways to work.
4 December 2017