05/29/2014 02:35 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Define Success (Principle #2 of the 7 Principles of Personal Effectiveness)

This blog is about Principle #2 on your way to better personal effectiveness; 'Define Success' originally introduced in the blog 'The 7 Principles of Personal Effectiveness'. It is important that you are working through each of the 7 Principles, and highlighting any point that represents a gap for you, or challenges your current beliefs or practices.

Choices are much simpler when you know what's important to you. Below is a summary of how to define what is important to you and how you can make better choices.

I. Before you define success personally, revisit the aspirations and values of your organization. Your own success will be much easier and faster if you can create a direct line of sight to your organization's aspirations.
II. Get clear on what success looks like for you personally by answering the following questions: What is your core purpose in life? What are your most important goals? What are your values (in order of importance)? What are your strengths: when do you experience flow? What are the key roles you must attend to in your personal and professional life to create success? For example, leader, strategist, partner, individual.
III. Rather than think of your roles as a baseball diamond, where you briefly touch one base before running to the next, think of them as a Venn diagram with lots of overlaps. For example, exercising with your kids combines the roles of parent and health in one activity.
IV. Develop an 'ideal week'. Start by defining the boundaries for work, and ideally engage your loved ones in this activity so you have a shared definition of success (e.g. home 3 night per week for dinner, Sundays completely work free, etc). Aim to batch the repetitive tasks like email at pre-allocated times. If you do your best work first thing in the morning, don't have any meetings before 10am. Carve out space to regenerate with time for planning, learning and exercise.
V. Living your ideal week 100% of the time is impossible for most people, but even 50% will produce a huge improvement in achievement and satisfaction.

How did you go with this activity? If you've got a clear picture of what success looks like, my following blog will help you take the next step with the third principle of personal effectiveness; 'Develop a System You Trust'.

For those of you who are interested in some further reading in this field of personal effectiveness, here are the key books and authors that have inspired me;

  • First Things First by Stephen R. Covey

  • Getting Things Done by David Allen

  • Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

  • Man's Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frankl

  • The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey