I love the feeling of knowing I just delivered a great class or a powerful coaching session. Yet how I define “great” and “powerful” has shifted for me over time.
For years, I said that learning was my highest value. When I received a good evaluation for a class, it meant that I had created a good product. I was proud that I was able to transfer my knowledge, which I am always developing, to my students in a way that they would remember and apply what they learned. This made me happy. And if I happened to change someone’s life in an incredible way, it was just more proof that I had achieved my goals.
Something happened along the way. I started caring less about the perfection of my work and more about my ability to touch people’s lives and open their eyes to brighter possibilities. When they told me I changed their lives, I now wonder more about what circumstances brought us together than what I said or did so brilliantly. Am I softening with age?
Maybe this reflects what is happening in our world. I heard someone say this is not just an economic crisis we are facing, it’s a spiritual crisis. We need to get our financial house in order. Yet even more so, we need to question our values around the common good, our sense of community and our social responsibility.
Life isn’t just a numbers game, though many corporate executives believe this as evidenced in their company goals and their rank and rating performance evaluations. I work for myself, yet I hope my net value isn’t reflected in my assets, especially since my money-market statements have shown a downward trend.
This is a pothole for many high achievers–making the quality of their achievement more important than the impact it has for others now and in the future. How do you evaluate your success?
I’m not sure why I care more now, especially since it is harder to aim to improve a life than to complete a project proficiently. Yet it somehow makes living feel easier. I don’t know what kicked me in the butt and made me see the light, but I’m glad it happened.