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Measuring Your Life's Success

by: Megan Zander

Published on
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Measuring Your Life's Success

You can only be good at 3 things in life.

Someone told me that, recently. At first, it was only a novelty. I immediately applied it to my own life and this is what I thought (at the time) I was trying to be good at, prioritized:

  1. Being a mom
  2. Being a content strategist
  3. Being a (respectable/amiable/invested) coworker

It made perfect sense to me. I'm not sure where exactly "3" came from, but I think it's great to get one thinking about what success and failure in one's own life might be. Three (3) things are a manageable number of things, for me.

But making this list made me consider that if I'm only getting "good at" 3 things, then maybe I'm slowly becoming terrible at being a wife, being a storyteller, being good to my extended family, giving back to my community, being a friend. No wonder I sometimes feel like I'm in a constant state of failure! I have too many things that I want to be "good" at; too many things that I use to measure my own success. And right before I thought my brain was going to explode in the midst of all of that introspection, I realized that I am really struggling to "get good at" being one very important thing: myself.

I realized that I am also struggling to get good at being one very important thing: myself.

I did not despair. Instead, I put on my strategist hat and decided that I was thinking about it in the wrong way. These things aren't all separate and in their own standing.

For example, I want to be a good mom, wife, and daughter, and these things all support each other in some ways. When I'm good to my kids, I'm good to my husband. When I'm good to my mom, I'm good to my kids.

I can bucket my life objectives and create more meaningful, impactful "areas" of my life that I'm constantly working to improve. If I can think about it differently, I can still work at all of the areas of my life but see my successes from the larger picture.

I then came up with these 3 different-but-similar-and-way-better things:

  1. Showing love to my family and friends
  2. Growing in my professional life and my community
  3. Being happy and healthy

If I do something well for my kids one week, that will make up for the text from my mom that I forgot to return. If I miss that Culture Club meeting at work, maybe the amazing presentation I gave that same week will make up for it.

I'm also now able to measure my life's success by things like how well I take care of my body, how much rest I get, and how many happy moments I found in a day.

My life feels like chaos sometimes because I'm just trying to accomplish too many things. By thinking about only 3 things I want to "get good" at, and broadening what those things are, I'm looking at all of the moving parts of my life as one big effort, and high-fiving myself more often.

This might not be for anyone else, and I don't think of myself as a self-help guru, but it's definitely helping me and I would encourage everyone I know to think differently about all of their life efforts and celebrate their wins more often.

I'll conclude with this quote from Winston Churchill (who knew a thing or two about success), "Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."

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