Saturday, November 5, 2011

What's your sucess criteria?

What's your success criteria? Or would you rather call it SLA's, metrics, benchmarks, goals, targets, end state and the like? And who defines it for you?

We typically use any of the above terms at work, and while at work the boss decides these (or atleast is supposed to) for you in your role and capacity. And then, most of us would do our best (the others would do better than best) to get closer to these high standards and sometimes exceed them. These are cherished times, the performance appraisals are smooth, smiles are around and money finds its way to the bank. Now, that's clear; documented, signed off, agreed by both parties, and checked at regular frequencies to keep you on track.

What some of us may not have is the same rigour and diligence with other facets of life, which may be of equal importance, if not more. Lets talk about a few - family, friends, society at large, country, religion all have set us 'de-facto' or 'de-jure' criteria for success. Depending on when and where you're born, which community you belong to and what religion you do or don't practise, there are a few stated and a lot of implied expectations from you. These translate into your success criteria, in their eyes. Now, living upto these expectations can never be easy, primarily because what we have called family and society is really a collection of individuals with a diverse perspective. So, even if your life revolves around say 50 people that really matter to you, you still have 50 success criteria to live upto. And remember, these criteria itself change based on situation, the challenge you're facing and generally from time to time (generation to generation, era to era) with all possible combinations. Whoa!

Finally, then there's the teeny-weeny little voice from inside once in a while (although most of us would have trained it not to speak up) that adds to the porridge, making it dangerously explosive. Well, that's the burden each of us carry on "our shoulders" every living day, with or without knowledge. Now, did someone say they (or their porridge) feel burnt out?

Each of us (not counting the enlightened ones here) is living several lives and trying to fit in even more in ONE LIFE, now that's where it get's complicated. Life is not meant to be complicated, it is supposed to be simple and serene, happy and joyful, with meaning and purpose. While each life has in it abundant space for one life (and one wife :-), we got to figure whose life we want to live.

If only we could cut through this clutter and drown the noise, we may hear this voice, feeble in the beginning, but distinct nevertheless. Chances are that you may have already have heard this, but have either ignored it, riduculed it as being childish, or have fought it valiantly. If, and only if, we could listen again, this time with the right intent and belief, one could live HIS LIFE at last, and before last.

The best practice, ofcourse, is to set "your success criteria", document it, measure against it, track progress and, well, you know the drill...please don't forget "CELEBRATE" though.