What is success? How is it measured? How does one know when one achieves it? Is it the end of something, like crossing the finish line? Or the quality of that end, as in finishing first? So much emphasis is placed on success in our society that the difference between running the race and running the race well is often confused.
Success sometimes loses its value when the goal becomes the same for everyone. Making money is a popular measure of success. Others might say that marrying the “perfect 10” is the ultimate measure of success. If that were true, only my wife would be successful. (I’m kidding, of course. Both of us would be successful.)
My favorite definition of success is the continual achievement of becoming what God created you to be. In this definition we see that the better measure of success is unique to each individual. When something burns in your heart to achieve or overcome, it becomes a race you run within your own dreams and aspirations. And it doesn’t matter who else is running that race with you. No one else can define your measurement of success. You already know in your heart. But whether it’s a small goal like losing 10 pounds or a larger goal like running a company, what is common is how you prepare to reach that goal.
Define a goal. Be personal. Dig deep. But above all, be clear. Ambiguity in goal setting is dangerous. Aim at nothing and you’ll hit it every time.
Develop a plan. Make it practical. Don’t set the bar so high that you can reach it. But do set the bar high enough that you have to reach to attain it. Make your plan a daily list of tasks. What must you do today to get closer to reaching the goal? Success is often found in your daily routine.
Commit to your plan. If your plan is clear and realistic, you need to emotionally lock in to it — own it! Find someone to whom you can be accountable. The easiest person to schmooze is yourself. A faithful friend who will give you a reality check is an invaluable asset.
Understand failure. Notice I didn’t say “make room for” or “anticipate” failure. Failure is not to be accommodated. But its roll should be understood. You might fail. But you can learn from failure … perhaps more than if you didn’t fail at all. Remember real failure only happens when you give up.
Run the race. Nothing takes the place of moving forward one step at a time, recognizing that we run to win — to achieve the goal God has etched into our hearts. The writer of Hebrews says in chapter 12, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” And if you need any help getting around the track, give us a call.
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