Successful How?

I’ve often heard people in business say, “X was very successful.” Often they seem to be using “successful” as shorthand for “made me feel good,” or maybe “sort of looked like a successful thing would look,” or at least “sort of made me look like I had done a successful thing.”

Actual success has to have a metric attached. One thing is true of all real success: you can measure it.

“Successful” doesn’t just mean “shiny.” It means that you accomplished something, ideally something you set out to accomplish (although unexpected successes are sometimes acceptable). That’s because all endeavors cost juice, and you were attempting to buy something with that expenditure. Either you did or you didn’t.

First ask – why would you care about this thing in the first place? Because you had a problem, and you wanted to address it. Okay, after you addressed it – did the problem improve? A shocking number of people can’t answer that. Make sure you’re not one of them.

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