How often have you been asked what you want to get out of life? How many times has the answer been something like ‘I want to be successful in…’
Let’s take the word success and break it down, shall we? The Oxford Dictionary defines success as an accomplishment of an aim or purpose¹. I Like the last 3 words in that definition; aim or purpose. In fact, I think we perceive the term success to mean something entirely different to the Oxford Dictionary definition, with is wrong and unfair. Too often we seem to measure our own success against somebody else’s. We forget the true way to be successful is to accomplish an aim or purpose. Our own aim or purpose, not somebody else’s.
Let’s look at a broad example. Take 2 Real Estate Agents. Agent A has sold 50 properties in the financial year at an average price of $500,000. Agent B has sold 25 at the same average price. Who would you deem more successful? At first thought, you could be forgiven for saying Agent A. However, we do not know what either agent’s aim or purpose was. If Agent A had aimed to sell 70 properties at $500,000 average, and Agent B had aimed to sell 20, which agent would be deemed more successful? One did not meet their aim, and one not only accomplished their aim, they managed to exceed it by 25%. I would say Agent B would have had a more successful year because they accomplished their own personal aim.
The clearest way to know whether you are successful is to have distinct KPI’s to meet. Your own KPI’s. If you aim to earn $100,000 in a year, this will be easily measured; you have cracked the tonne or you haven’t. If you don’t and your mate did, it is imperative not to consider that year unsuccessful because we do not know what your mates aim was. They may have earned $50,000 under budget. All we know is that your own KPI was not met, and rather than stew on it, the pragmatic approach is to put in place provisions to increase your chances of accomplishing your goal the next year.
Humans are notorious for comparing themselves against their peers. It is in our nature. A lot of us attempt to achieve certain goals that are not organic, and the main reason we want to achieve them is because ‘that is what we are meant to do’ or ‘so and so are doing it, why shouldn’t I?’
That is the first mistake.
Attempting to achieve something that is not organic, and you are not passionate about is setting yourself up for failure before you have even started. If you fail attempting to achieve something you are passionate about, you will have learned from the experience and will be better in the long run. Even the most widely ‘successful’ people in the world have failed along the way², most say they would not have achieved what they have without failing along the way. It keeps them grounded.
At Income Solutions, we regularly help our clients articulate what it is they truly want to accomplish. This forms part of your Purple Box; your goals. An individual’s own goals should be used as the main barometer to measure their success. Everybody is different. Everybody has different reasons. Most people want to retire financially secure, which again, has a different meaning for everybody. It is your personal goals that need to be drilled down upon and identified.
These accomplishments almost always deliver far greater satisfaction, and more often then not, will lead to the common goal of financial security.
Personally, I do not really care if I am the wealthiest person in my friendship group when I retire. I will not measure my success using this metric.
A good client of our has a great saying: “I do not want to be the wealthiest man in the nursing home, or the cemetery.’ He and his wife managed to retire at an age most would consider quite young, now they have a wonderful life accomplishing the retirement goals they are passionate about, not somebody else’s. Therefore, I would call them very successful.
I have numerous personal goals I would like to accomplish; living abroad, continued charity donation, living on a modest acreage, the list goes on and on and will be different for everybody. My main goal or aim I am striving to accomplish is being able to choose whether or not I need to go to work or not by the age of 55 – or earlier – and donate my time to a couple of charities I hold dear, as well as ticking off some international destinations. At this point, I will need a capital base invested soundly enough to provide me with a passive income stream that will support mine and my family’s lifestyle, without earning a paycheck.
We can help you with understanding what this capital base should look like at Income Solutions!
The income stream that I deem enough will be decided by me, and I will not compare this income stream to any one else’s when determining it. If I use the various personal goals I have as stepping stones to reach my ultimate goal, I will be comfortable enough to call myself relatively successful.