Normally, whenever you finish something, the first question you ask is about how you did. If it’s an engagement, you consider the success factors of realization, timeliness, quality, client satisfaction, etc. If it’s the end of a time period, you consider what you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come.
It’s Only Natural
Why do you do this? Because you are naturally driven to succeed. Your goals, expectations and performance revolve around what you achieved.
As you proceed in your career, you will discover that what you do isn’t the whole story. There remains a fundamental question that, if not also considered, could make you be and feel less successful. In fact, this question is foundational and essential to fully evaluate your success. Here it is:
Did my efforts and achievements get me nearer TO WHOM I aspire to be?
Not what you do, but who you are.
Learn From a Colleague
This became so clear to me in a conversation I had with a senior manager who spent most of his career focusing on becoming an expert in his technical area. He put in countless hours honing his knowledge and sharpening his skills to deliver national quality solutions that his clients need. He is truly a technical expert in every sense of the word.
It’s More Than Technical
As his story unfolded, he lamented the fact that he spent so much time focusing on what he became and underplayed who he became. Over the last several years he has elevated the importance of his personal and interpersonal capabilities—his professional skills, which he attributes to making him so much more effective. Without saying it, his demeanor and energy showed that he is now experiencing a level of career fulfillment that eluded him for too long. (read how to deepen your effectiveness here and here.)
As you come to the end of 2018, I encourage you to examine not only what you’ve achieved (the 2nd question), but more so, who you have become (the first question). That’s a true assessment of your progress and where you’ll find the most success.