How To Measure Success As You Approach Half-Time In The Most Important Game Of All….

Sandra Cleveland |

Of course, I’m talking about your life.  After having your share of successes in the past, you may ask yourself, what is my measure of success right now, at this point in my life?  As a woman, I can look over my past and evaluate whatever level of success I feel I have had is based on my education, family, children, and career (not always in the right priority!).  At some point, it seems likely that I have accomplished the majority of my education. My responsibility as a parent is more about keeping in touch than caregiving.  My grown children are less about my success as a parent and more about their success as a person.


So, what’s next for me?  What’s next for you?  Since my profession is wealth management, you may expect I would first say, investing success, making good financial decisions and other quantitative issues.  Those topics are important, but the real fact is that financial success alone doesn’t guarantee a successful life.  Alternatively, it is hard to describe life as successful without some peace of mind about finances.


I am particularly fascinated by helping women navigate successful lives.  These may be single women or women as part of a family or couple.  Success encompasses every area of life with the most significant areas being physical health, career, relationships, and finances.  Making good decisions, both for today and the future, in all of these areas greatly complement each other. 


Stephen Covey aptly named one of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People:  “Begin with the End in Mind.”  This is a self-mastery habit of envisioning the future so you know concretely what to make happen.  It is much more than wishful thinking; it is seeing your future goal with clarity and determining what you need and what you should do to achieve that goal.


Using physical health as an example, there are many assessments available to evaluate your current health compared to norms.  You can do this by yourself or with help from a professional.  Seeing where you are and where you envision your future helps you define what you need to do to achieve your desired future. 


Similarly, a financial assessment describes where you are now compared to your future financial goals.  These financial goals are not initially defined as a dollar amount that you amass, but the goals are defined as your desired lifestyle that then determines what dollar amount is needed to provide that lifestyle.


In both of these areas, the information that you gain about the future helps you make better choices today.  For example, if you find out that you are on track for your financial independence (retirement) goals, you can be more generous with your grown children today.  Your financial assessment can determine the cost associated with future uncertainties around illness and care and help create a contingency plan that gives you peace of mind today.


If you have a purpose and a goal, don’t leave achieving it to fate.  Determine your measure of success now and take the first step that will lead to accomplishing your goal.