TOM #17: How to know if you’re on track

Posted on: October 23, 2022

How do you navigate success?

In order to navigate it, you must define it. For yourself. 

Today’s issue offers a quick, impactful check-in that enables you to discern if what you’re doing and who you are being align with your definition of success. (3min read)

In her upcoming book, Laura Gassner Otting explores the thrill of success that goes hand-in-hand with the exhaustion, stress, and uncertainty of creating it and whatever comes next. She calls it Wonderhell. (What a great word to describe the exhilaration and terror of the entrepreneur’s journey, right?)

She's identified four common elements across all definitions of success: calling, connection, contribution, and control. For example, some people value how much agency they have over their time and other resources (control) more than the amount of impact that they make (contribution), but both control and contribution are factors in their individual definitions of success.

How you define success has likely changed over time. It evolves for most of us as we gather experience and perspective.

  • 🤔 What is your current working definition of success?

If you don’t have a definition of success, you’ll inevitably end up using one that someone else wrote for you...and living someone else’s life, fulfilling someone else’s goals, and chasing after someone else’s definition of success. Avert the associated existential crisis and define success for yourself!

How to check if you're on track.

Otting introduced the following four statements in a workshop I attended earlier this month as a means to gauge alignment between your work/life and your definition of success:

Calling: The work that I do is the driving force that gets me up in the morning, and I am excited to do that work each day.

Connection: My inbox, calendar, and to-do list are all connected to the life I want to live. 

Contribution: My work allows me to live the lifestyle I want, build the career trajectory I need, and manifest my values for the community I love.

Control: I am in control of how much my hustle impacts my earning, my career growth, and my flexibility.

The significance of that (mis)alignment is a function of your personal definition of success.

🤔 What have you learned (or been reminded) about?

Here’s to building better, together!

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