Most of us are focused on professional and personal success. We set goals, we measure them, we track progress, we modify as required, we drop those that are no longer important and we add new ones based on changing times, conditions and experiences. What are your metrics for growth? How do you define growth and success? What are you focused on?
If you have worked in the corporate world, your professional success in measured in the impact you make on the business, the ratings that you receive in your performance reviews, the raises that come with it, the occasional promotion, the relocation for the next opportunity, considering career moves to other companies to accelerate your growth curve, focusing on what is necessary to get three levels above where you are. If you work for very competitive companies, it is an up or out mentality, and the under performers get left behind. So you need to set different goals to make sure that you are competitive – go back to school, take on-line courses, find mentors, get more political, make sure you are standing out from the crowd, being different.
All of these areas are crucial for professional growth in a highly competitive company. Do these things well, kick ass and take names and you will benefit from increases in your income that provides you with the buying powers that you strive for. You want income growth, you want to demonstrate your success to your peers, your family, your friends. For those in the corporate world, do you remember the first time you went to your bosses home? Impressive huh! I want to live in a place like this. Or how about when you hopped in their car for a team dinner and you found yourself sitting in that BMW you have been admiring but not yet in position to get, Hmmmmm. This is sweet, I need to get one of those.
So many of us really focus on growing our income as a primary measurement of growth and success. We get that fine home, great car, make some money in the markets, take that fine vacation, send your kids to the best schools, join the country club, you know all of the status symbols that we hold in such high regard. Hey, when you look good you feel good.
Of course there is a considerable downside to this measurement of growth. What happens if you don’t get that raise or it is less than anticipated? What happens if you are impacted by a layoff? What happens if your boss is a real jerk and you flip him or her off by mistake or just when you are bitching about them to a colleague, you turn around and they are standing being you? Unfortunate, yes. Just one event, just one disturbance in the force can impact your success. So if you do not have a straight path to more income have you failed? Are you still growing? Are you any good?
But why do we primarily focus on one measure, financial, as a sign of growth? If I get a 10 percent raise next year but eat less healthy food, spend less time with close and extended community, or do more self-serving work, did I really grow? Just because the number is easy to measure, is that all that matters?
Here’s a few other ways to grow besides financial:
– Grow in giving/reduce taking
– Grow in caring for others
– Grow in ‘lifestyle habits’
– Grow in knowledge
– Grow in family/community
– Grow in balance/wisdom
– Grow in joy
What if, at the end of every year, we took stock of ALL of these measures, along with financial? Would that change behavior?
All of these ideas are tough to measure, but you know it when you have it and when you don’t. Conversely, focusing solely on financial growth is actually destructive in the long-run. In the macro, we build a transactional (rather than trust) mindset into the culture. In the micro, as our financial capabilities grow, so do our waistlines/stress levels, our debt averages, and our disconnection from our fellow man.
So what to do? Here we have a reason to practice focusing on us. Over time, it may become easier to not react to such desires and really begin to act in a way that brings true growth. If that starts to happen in many people at once, you have the start of a movement away from constant, insatiable, unbalanced financial growth. And then! Who knows what will emerge? Start to think about your metrics of kindness, wisdom, health, fun and balance in addition to your financial growth metric. Your view of life will change and you will be so much happier and better off without that stress 🙂 You can win everyday in so many other ways.