Today’s Topic: Scoreboard

In life, we don’t often get the opportunity to measure our successes because we’re too busy living life. If we do step back and attempt to do so, we often can’t do it with much accuracy. Of course, there are some areas in life such as our net worth, our educational accomplishments, and our golf handicap that can be measured rather precisely, but for the most part, it can’t be done. The reason is simple: the scales are often obscure and influenced by biased perspectives. So, when it comes to assessing the levels of passion someone has, or what type of friends one keeps, or how much control we think we have over our lives, or how well we spend our free time, or the breadth and depth of the memories that we attempt to forge with our loved ones, success is more a feeling than an verifiable state. If we try to claim success, we can’t point to some indicator proving it; we either feel or don’t feel successful. For example, you can’t point to plates as proof that you cooked a perfect meal – there is no unbiased scale that accurately reflects the levels of a meal’s successfulness. But, you can know your meal was successful. Similarly, there is no precise and unprejudiced way to determine your success as a friend or as a parent or as a sibling – there is only the feeling of knowing you either are or are not successful in those areas of your life.

Similarly, we seldom have an exact way to measure success at work because success can come in many forms: the pride of workmanship, the value of advice, the effectiveness of coaching, the satisfaction of working in teams, the meaningfulness of the endeavor, and so on. We can have feelings of success; experience emotions related to our perceived successes; but, without a non-subjective scoreboard, accomplishment cannot be specifically measured. Closing a deal, posting numbers, hitting specific goals, those are the types of successes we can measure at work. And when we do have a chance to precisely measure the outcome of our efforts, and when we can proclaim indisputable success, how fulfilling it can be to confidently point to the scoreboard as evidence of our triumphs, as confirmation of our victories, as proof of our accomplishments.

Here’s hoping that along your journey in life and work, you feel many successes – and that you get many chances to point to the scoreboard.

With that in mind, here are a few movie quotes that come to mind.

“They don’t pay off on high aspirations. You’ve got to deliver.” –Alan Alda in Crimes and Misdemeanors

“Only one thing counts in this world: Get them to sign on the dotted line.” –Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross

“Show me the money.” –Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire