“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.” – Robert Collier
Success is a subjective measurement – it’s up to each individual to define what they consider to be successful achievements. Success is also fluid, in that your definition of success can change over time and be re-evaluated. So how do we decide what success means to us and how can we achieve it?
Define your own version of Success
This really is a personal choice, and will be different for each individual, but here are some suggestions to get you started. Perhaps you equate success with money? Maybe success to you would be getting a higher paying job, or becoming debt free, or saving up to buy a new car? Or perhaps you equate success with effectiveness? Maybe effectively finishing a project at work or an assignment or an advanced diploma? Maybe even getting really positive feedback about your assessments would be success for you? Or success might be intertwined with balance, maybe balancing a job with studying, or balancing personal relationships and family with completing a certificate or diploma?
Whatever success means to you, is valid and will become your version of success. Just try finishing this sentence: “In the next 12 months I want to…” Now when that 12 months has past and you have done whatever you can towards achieving what you wrote, that will be success.
This leads us to our next predicament, what do we do in those 12 months? How do we go about achieving this success?
SMART Goal Setting
“The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.” – Denis Watiley
As a child it’s very easy to set your goals for the future – whether you want to be a firefighter, a zoo keeper, a doctor, or a superhero. However, what we don’t necessarily consider as children is how we are going to achieve those goals, and we certainly don’t take the time to think them through or critically assess them.
If we use our own version of success as our aim, or our “end goal”, we can then use SMART goals to ensure that we achieve success.
The SMART goals model was coined by G. T. Doran back in 1981 and has been used effectively and widely across organisations and for both personal and professional growth. The idea is to use the 5 stages of SMART to plan out how you are going to achieve your end goal.
SMART goals are:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Achievable
R = Relevant, Rigorous, Realistic, and Results Focused
T = Timely and Trackable
So for example, if my version of success, my “end goal”, was to receive a qualification to further my career, I would use SMART goals to achieve this as follows:
1. Specifically: I want to complete my diploma in the next year.
2. Measurable: I want to complete the diploma within 12 months in order to qualify for a promotion. If there are four modules in my diploma, this means I will need to complete 1 module every 3 months in order to achieve my goal.
3. Achievable: Yes I have the time and weekly routine to be able to spend 3 afternoon/evenings every week on my studies, and increase that time when assignments or any difficult sections arise.
4. Results-focused: It is relevant to my overall career progression because I need it to gain a promotion and adding this to my resume will make me more employable no matter what happens with my current job in the future.
5. Timely: I want to achieve these results within 12 months, and I know that this is doable because I have broken it down to 1 module every three months.
Something to get you on your way to Success
Copy and paste the following questionnaire to use for your own SMART goals and see yourself achieving your own success!!
S.M.A.R.T. Goal Questionnaire
Your own version of success: ____________________________
1. Specific. What will the goal accomplish? How and why will it be accomplished?
2. Measurable. How will you measure whether or not the goal has been reached (list at least two indicators)?
3. Achievable. Is it possible? Have others done it successfully? Do you have the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities, and resources to accomplish the goal? Will meeting the goal challenge you without defeating you?
4. Results-focused. What is the reason, purpose, or benefit of accomplishing the goal? What is the result (not activities leading up to the result) of the goal?
5. Time-bound. What is the established completion date and does that completion date create a practical sense of urgency?