As a youth I found myself lucky to have a skill that other people wanted. I was pretty sure it was as simple as that: show people how to play tennis, get paid to do so and then be able to see a movie with my friends on the weekend. So I trained more and I gave more lessons. As I grew, my skill grew and I was able to charge more, do more and I measured my success in how many hours I worked and the number of clients I had. Success was more or less measured in the wallet and what I could buy with it.
However, there came a point when I wasn’t just coaching individuals anymore, I was coaching a team – and I wasn’t paid more for more hours or more people. How was I to measure success now? Wins maybe? That made sense, if my team wins, I am successful. That worked for a while…until we started to lose. Was I now a failure? I didn’t feel like I had failed. So I found a new metric for success.
It seems that each step I took towards more pressure, more competition, more intensity and more on the line, I found new ways to determine what made me, my team and the results a success. At a recent event, I found myself in the middle of this discussion with a player who had just lost. Was the event unsuccessful because she lost? If it was, then she had wasted a lot of time and money. But I didn’t feel that she had failed. On the other hand however, if she could be successful without winning, why bother trying to win in the first place?
As a coach I find myself constantly struggling with this conundrum and helping others struggle with it too. Not only in athletic competition, but with our business partners as well. If we spend a week with a partner preparing a presentation and then that partner doesn’t get the project, was it all a waste of time? Did we fail and waste time and money? Or was there something to be gained in the process of preparing?
Many decisions are ultimately out of your control. Using other people’s thoughts, actions or decisions as a constant measure of success is a recipe for certain failure. Instead, preemptively outlining what makes successful use of time, tools and talent based on factors that are in your hands is a more manageable and motivating way to set and achieve goals.
There are several different ways that we measure goals with our partners. For example, one of our partners measures success in terms of growth. Growth of their events, growth of their people – as employees and as human beings and growth of their positive reach throughout the community. Eskywell measures success in terms of narrowing down the list of mistakes our partners make. One mistake is not a failure, but making the same mistake again would be a failure of our systems.
Each of our partners has a mix of goals they want to accomplish and we work hard to evaluate those goals and make sure they set goals that are achievable by their own actions instead of the actions of others, that way success is in their own hands.
I feel it would be irresponsible not to end a discussion on measuring success without contemplating the alternative: measuring failures. No matter how we measure success, there is always the chance of failure, and when we do fail, how we react is possibly the most important indication of what the future holds. It is how we all recover, as individuals and as a team from these failures that has the greatest impact on the future success of any enterprise.
At Eskywell, when a partner fails, we fail. When a business experiences a loss, we experience a loss. We truly hate the feeling of failing, and when it happens, we all have the opportunity to quit, to give up. But instead, we choose to analyze what went wrong, implement a new plan and maintain it until it needs to change again.
As a coach of any kind, setting, monitoring and achieving (or missing) goals is incredibly important. At Eskywell we make sure that your personal and business goals are at the forefront of all decision making.
If you'd like to learn a little more about how we do that, please reach out, we offer free in person or remote discovery meetings during which we can discuss your goals and see if there is anyway we can help you accomplish them.