Let me ask you a question: Have you ever found something not working, only to find out you never turned the power on? I think we’ve all done that before, right? But hold that thought, because I want to jump into something. Today we’re going to be talking about how you define success in your business.

One of my friends posted something to Facebook, asking exactly that question. “How do you define success?” I thought about it and I said, “Success is kind of the bridge between action and acquisition.” So, what do I mean by that? Many people think that acquisition is money, right? The more money you get, you with the biggest toys dies rich, I don’t know. But not everybody looks at success and measures it with money. It could be measured a lot of different ways. It could be so much more.

How Do You Define Success?

When we’re sitting down and we’re trying to define success, it usually means that we have achieved a goal, a lot of people are simply focused on that. But ultimately, goals are a part of a system.

It starts with tasks; you have to start with a task. You do certain things, and then you reach milestones, and then when you complete those milestones, you get to the finished goal. That’s the way that a lot of project management systems work, with Gantt charts and all those other fun charting tools. What we’re going to do today is take it in reverse.

Reverse Engineering

The reason I say “take it in reverse” is because I grew up as an electronic technician. I still do that today, in fact, and when there’s a problem with an audio system, you troubleshoot in reverse. Let’s talk through that.

If you’re not getting any sound out of your speaker, what do you do? Well, the first thing you do is check the speaker. Is the speaker working? Can you plug something else into it to see that the speaker’s working? You can move it from one side to the other unless it weighs 300 pounds, but if you can plug the source in it and it works, you know the speaker’s good. Then the next thing you check is the wire. Is the wire going from the speaker to the amp working? If that’s okay, you can plug it into another one and see if it works, then you go back to the amp. Now, is the amp turned on? Or maybe, is one of the channels is dead? You kind of move things between the two channels, and if that’s working, then you usually have another wire, which is the wire in-between the source, which could be a CD player, TV, whatever going into the amps. You check that wire, and if that wire’s okay, then you go back to the source. A lot of the time, you forgot to the turn the TV on or the CD player or your MP3 player, whatever it is.

Anyway, that’s how you troubleshoot something; you always work backward. Let’s expand a little bit on that logic. If you’ve been listening to the podcast or reading my blog, you’ve heard me talk about the fact that I’ve taken up running again, right? It starts with tasks and then it has milestones and then it has goals, but I want to work backward, right? That’s how we’re going to define success, and I’ll dig in a little deeper on that.

Starting From The End

Let’s start with the running. Goal number one: just start running, right? Do something. But in order to do that, I had to set a milestone, and the milestone is, how many miles did I want to run? I could run a mile, I could run a half-mile, I could do whatever I want. One of my friends told me the best way to get running again or even start running from the beginning, is to walk a minute, run a minute, walk a minute, run a minute, and so I did just that. Then I went to 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then, ultimately, I got to 20 minutes. In those 20 minutes, I could run the entire two miles.

That was the goal, was just to start running, but then the goal grows into doing these other things. I mean, I didn’t have any running shoes, I hadn’t run in years and the ones I had, all the glue had dried up on them. I needed those mile markers, those milestones, in order to get to where I wanted to be, but I had to start with tasks.


When it comes to looking at the reverse engineering of this, so, let’s look at the goal that I have now. The goal I have now, is a 5K, a 5K is 3.2-some odd miles. Right now, I’m running two miles non-stop, which means I have to get to three and then I have to get a little bit higher. But in order to do that, I had to get to some other milestones, but the goals, as I said before, were to first start running, then start running consistently, then run two miles, then run a 5K. I hope to do that either before the end of this year or at the beginning of next year.


Now, let’s back up into the milestones. As I said, running two miles non-stop was the first one. Now, I want to get to three miles non-stop. The next milestone, before I get to two miles non-stop or three miles non-stop, is that I want to run below 10 minutes a mile. That’s a milestone. Right now I’m running about sometimes between 10 and 11 minutes a mile, which is not bad — it’s really good, actually — but I need to get it below 10, so then I can three miles. If I get back up to 12 minute miles, that’s fine, I’ll get it back down to where it needs to be. But those are milestones. Getting to that two to three miles is going to take some of those milestones to happen.


Finally, there’s the tasks, all right. In order for me to get started, I had to get new gyms, I had running shoes. But I also figured out in the process, and this was another task that I did, in order to run at the speed that I wanted to, I had to create a playlist on my iPod so that I was running in beat with the music. What I did is I figured out in order to break that 10 minutes, I had to be running at 150 beats per minute, so I was looking for songs that had 150 to 160 beats a minute, and if I can keep up with that pace, then I will get below that 10 minute mile. As I keep working it, I need to update my playlist. My playlist gets me to my milestones, which is running faster, which gets me to my goal, which is running that 5K.

Components To A Successful Business

If we sit back and look at our businesses, we have to ask ourselves this: how do you define success? It could be any of these things. There are three components that I’d like you to look at.

The first one is happy customers. If you’ve got happy customers, they’re going to tell other people, and, obviously, they’re going to pay you, and life is good, right? But in reality, not 100% of them are going to be happy all the time. So, maybe you set a goal that you want 80% of your to be as happy as possible and still be able to make money on it. You may have some customers that are happy, but you’re not making money; you may have some customers that are not happy, but you are making money. Figure out how that works for you.

The next thing that you have to look at is, are your team members happy? Are you making them satisfied? Is that part of the success? If you need to educate them, pay them more, do whatever it is. What do you need to do to get the people surrounding you to build your success up and help you become more successful? I saw this great quote about leadership: “Leadership is not leading from example, it’s helping other people be successful so that you can be a leader.” That’s really what it boils down to, get your people trained, make them happy, and you will become happy.

Then the final piece of this puzzle is you. Are you living a happy life? Are you living the lifestyle that you want? Are you happy with yourself? That was one of the things that I needed to do with running is I work a lot in my office, so getting out and running is that half hour mental break that I need to recharge my batteries.

Final Thoughts

So, when you’re looking at success, remember that success is the bridge between action and acquisition. Ask yourself what your goals are, then start breaking them back to what your milestones are, and then from there, generate a task list or a daily to-do list that helps you achieve those milestones to achieve success.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about showing the concepts presented. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?

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