I was asked to describe how I measure success.
And it took me awhile to consider what the word success means.
From my corporate days, it was the visual- corner office with a door and 2 visitors’ chairs plus a credenza- to the watch, shoes, suit and cuff links someone wore. As a female executive, the cuff links and the tassel loafers were not a look I could achieve. But we had many sage experts telling us what would give us power and authority in a male dominated world.
And to follow that male experience, the title you carried said something about your success. The house where you lived, the school your kids went to, the car that you drove all telegraphed your success.
I’m in a different place now.
I want my business and my employees to feel that the two are not mutually exclusive. That means if we have a snow day and school is cancelled, they don’t have to call in and say they are sick because they can’t find a babysitter.
Does that put a strain on the business? You bet because you may be running a leaner staff that day.
Does that make the business more family friendly and create a loyal and dedicated staff? You bet, because they will find a replacement to their absence or some other creative solution, like do some work from home.
So I had to really ponder the changes I’ve experienced from my silk blouse, business suit days to my business casual, work apron days and see what my measure of success is.
And it’s very simple.
I want to drive a car to work that has only 2 seats in it.
You see I drive a very useful and utilitarian car- a van. For instance, from November to the end of December, I take all the middle and back seats out of the back. This is so I can deliver, haul stuff back and forth from our off-site storage, use the van as temporary storage space, pick up items to be wrapped, deliver items to be shipped- you name it.
So a two seat car represents for me- my business is so stable, that I have an employee who drives the van. That the list of to-do’s is shared more widely so I can afford more employees. That I have talented and creative people heading up the groups within our company and I have the challenge of leading more. That I have achieved success.
It doesn’t have to be a grand car- a humble, 2 seater will do.
But it will have very special meaning to me.
How do you spell success?