woman with her arms in the air

Measuring success

By: Sarah Dew Whitsett

A question I have been asking myself lately is how am I measuring success. It seems like a simple question but actually it’s a doozie if you really dig into it.

I am a recovering overachiever and with that comes the eternal feeling of frustration. I can see where I want to go and can see how it should all come together. But I forget that sometimes between the idea and outcome is time. Lots of time. Uncomfortable time.

Picture me in the back seat of the car whining “are we there yet?”

If I let my inner overachiever get the best of me I actually ignore or downplay the little successes that have been accomplished.

And this my friends, is a recipe for being grumpy and frustrated.

The Jedi mind trick I have been working on that helps me navigate this frustrating land is to continually ask myself: How was I successful today?

The answers surprise me. While my inner overachiever is like “we didn’t accomplish our huge goal yet!”, the rational human in me noticed some things:

  1. I worked out today – that is a win!
  2. I ate well today – win!
  3. I had a great week with my team and camaraderie is high – total win!
  4. Clients are kicking butt in their companies – win!
  5. Kids aren’t driving each other crazy – win!

I also look back over the past few months and look at trends:

  1. We increased revenue in both companies’ year over year – total win.
  2. I didn’t gain any weight over the holidays! – WIN
  3. I enjoyed 2 weeks off for the first time in years – WIN

Once you start you will find that it’s hard to stop listing out all of the small successes. I could go on but we should get a little closer before I divulge all the weird stuff.

So, if you are finding yourself wondering “are we there yet?”, take a minute and focus on the small stuff. It may just be what you need.


Sarah is cofounder and strategist at Las Peregrinas, a creative and consulting agency. She’s all action and no beating around the bush. A former intensive care unit nurse, if you look closely, you’ll see her continuing to run triage in her work with clients now. It’s in her bones. Sarah’s ears are tuned to the efficient and effective use of time, money, and effort, and which actions need to be taken in which order to get the result you want.

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