Research done at the Harvard Business School has shown that enduring success is seen across four areas :
• Achievement: Do you measure accomplishments against an external goal, e.g., for example, power, wealth, recognition, competition against others?
• Happiness: Is there contentment or pleasure with and about your life?
• Significance: Do you have a valued impact on others whom you choose?
• Legacy: Have you infused your values and your accomplishments into the lives of others to leave something behind?
Stevenson and Nash contend that in fact, all four areas are required to achieve enduring success. Achievement or what we often see as success often arrives in the business world without balance across the personal, spiritual and service spectrums. The research points out conflict often arises across these areas, as they compete for your attention and resources.
As we move into the Year of the Golden Pig - year destined for prosperity - consider whether your success is balanced.
Achievement: What measures of success have you established for your work life? What have you achieved in your life? What challenging goals have you set for the future? Are you progressing toward your goals? Is there a way this could or should be accelerated?
Happiness: Is there contentment or pleasure in your life? Have you surrounded yourself with people and things that bring you enjoyment? Where are your sources of frustrations? Are there actions you could take today to reduce them? What small step could you take that would bring you a smile? Can you make it last?
Significance: When you look at the people that you interact with in your personal and professional life, are you added positive value to their lives? Consider your spouse/significant other, your children, your co-workers, your subordinates, your clients, and your friends. Are you adding to their achievement? to their happiness? to their development? What more could you do? What are your aims as you consider your impact on others?
Legacy: What impact will you leave behind you, whether small (influencing the life of one person) or large (improving the world)? What impact would you like to leave? What could you do today that would begin to use your success in other areas in a way that leaves positively influences the world?
Consider the words of Robin S. Sharma, from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari,
...the purpose of life is a life on purpose. Those who are truly enlightened know what they want out of life, emotionally, materially, physically and spiritually. Clearly defined priorities and goals for every aspect of your life will serve a role similar to that played by a lighthouse, offering you guidance and refuge when the seas become rough".
Have you set goals and priorities that will lead you to enduring success and a life on purpose?
Lagace, Martha. “Four Keys of Enduring Success: How High Achievers Win”, June 24, 2002, http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/2990.html. HBS professor Howard Stevenson offers insights from research he and HBS senior research fellow Laura Nash are conducting on the meaning of success for high achievers.Sharma, Robin S. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, 1997, New York: HarperTorch.