Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Success in 40 Hours?

I recently found this post relating to the time that it takes to be a successful person.  Although the article is positive overall, my first reaction was that a person not sleeping for 48 hours to be successful is absolutely ridiculous.  Although I still think it is ridiculous, I do understand that being successful in whatever you do does take a little time. 

After reading, I thought about the successful people I knew and the time they put into their careers; some putting more time in than others with varying degrees of notable success. Then, I thought of myself and the success I have had over the past few years.  I have to admit that the time I have put into getting there has been above and beyond what I now believe one person should put into anything. I look back to weeks where I put in 80 hours of work and yes, lost a lot of sleep.  This caused me to wonder, does time equal success in all situations?  I don't think so but it does pose the very important next question:

What is success?

Is success getting the job done?  Is it creating goals and working to achieve them?  Is success failing?  Is it making someone else happy?  Is it juggling lots of roles/duties?  How do you measure success?  I think everyone has their own definition and as long as you know what your definition is, then you know what you have to work toward.  My definition of success today, although different than my definition in the past, is as simple as this: 

Setting and Achieving Whole Life Goals

My definition has always been "setting and achieving goals" but recently I've added the "whole life" to it and believe it is a huge component.  What do I mean by "whole life"?  All I mean by this is that there is a balance.  I don't measure success only by what I do in the workplace.  Success, to me is also how well I balance work with the rest of my life.  I have made a conscious decision that work will not be my life, however, it can and will be a part of my life that I enjoy.  All that being said, if I enjoy work, do I think about it past clock out time? Of course I do. I enjoy my career and I think about it a lot when I'm off the clock.  That extra time does add to my success, however I have made every effort to make it not so in-my-face during evenings and weekends (no work email /chat on my phone, etc.).

So, I guess to sum this up, success does take time but I don't think it has to take our lives.  I think it is wonderful to dedicate additional time to your career, especially if you're lucky enough to love what you do. You don't, however, need to dedicate every minute of your day and you surely don't need to not sleep for 48 hours to get it (at least not in my career choice, and I'm assuming the same of my readers).  Manage your success-oriented time wisely and remember life is multi-faceted.  If you're dedicating all of your time to one thing, you're missing out on a whole lot more. 


  1. Julie,

    Great post! The "whole life" idea is really the struggle.

    People in our generation (20-35) have the blessing/curse of being able to do almost anything, almost anywhere, with almost anyone. This choice overload is tough and if you have that over-achieving voice in the back of your head it is even worse.

    After studying productivity for about two years the best thing I have found is:

    What does DONE look like?

    Define that and it gives clarity.

    The analogy I like is setting out to complete a race. Some people choose the 1 mile fun walk and others choose the full Ironman or an ultra-marathon. It all depends on the individual and what their idea of success is. Then they race accordingly.

    (Races to measure, but things like spirituality or personal relationships can be a little more difficult to define.)

    Anyway, thanks for your post....I need to work on connecting more with family that lives in other parts of the country.

    Always working (on meaningful pursuits),
    Brent Sears

  2. Thanks Brent, I like the idea of questioning what DONE looks like. This is a good way to look at it.
    Yes, the whole life struggle is there. And, sadly, some parts in that whole life may be lacking no matter how hard you try. I suppose everyone's definition of whole life can be different as well.
    Thanks for the comment!

  3. Julie,

    This video on having too many choices changed my life:

    Barry Schwatz from his book "The Paradox of Choice"

    It helped me stop worrying that I had missed something.

    Keep doing great work!


  4. nice article and makes me more interested to read from the title. keep up the good work and hope to see more. thanks.