Talking to my old mate and new co-host Steve Sammartino this morning on our Futuristic podcast, I mentioned the topic of a talk I’ve given a few times over the years and also of a book I’m working on. It’s “The Ten Things”. These are the ten things I have developed of the years that I measure my personal success on.
I realised a long, long time ago, that success, for me, isn’t about money or fame (although there’s nothing inherently wrong with those things). Personally I see success more in terms of the complete picture of my life.
I remember reading Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” when I was about 20, and he had a really impactful exercise about his principal / habit of “Start With The End In Mind”. He suggested you should think about your own funeral and what you wanted people – family, friends, colleagues, members of the community – to say about you when you’re gone. Start with that – the legacy you want to leave behind – and then work backwards to determine what kind of life you want to live in order to justify those funeral orations.
My ten things isn’t really about my funeral, but about how I feel when I wake up every day. I’ve had times in my life when I’ve had money, and times when I haven’t, and I know that money isn’t really a factor in how I feel about my contribution as a human. It’s nice to have some financial security, but I wouldn’t trade any of the other nine things for money. I remember working at Microsoft and feeling like I was wasting my life. Sure, I had a nice house and a nice car and got to do lots of travel, but I felt like I was just spinning my wheels. Then podcasting came along, something I could really sink my teeth into, and while it didn’t come with the same kind of financial security as a regular job (although, we all know, jobs aren’t very secure either), I got way more enjoyment and fulfilment out of it than I ever did out of an office job.
Here’s my list, in no particular order (although money is at the bottom). YMMV.
PEACE: Do I have good peace of mind?
JOY: Am I generally happy with my life?
HEALTH: Am I relatively healthy for my age?
LOVE: Am I in a loving, exciting, fulfilling relationship?
KIDS: Do I have a positive, loving relationship with my children?
FRIENDS: Do I have enough healthy friendships to fulfil my needs?
WORK: Is the work that I am doing fulfilling and leaving a positive impact on the world?
BALANCE: Am I happy with how I balance my time between work and family, friends and hobbies?
IMPACT: Am I contributing in some way to make society better?
MONEY: Do I earn enough money to have financial security?