Success: Are you measuring the right thing?

We have all heard the old adage before: What gets measured gets done. Performance metrics in the context of business are common. I spend a lot of time understanding and helping my clients meet their business performance metrics.

Photo by Bradhoc on Flickr.

Photo by Bradhoc on Flickr.

However, a few years ago a friend asked me a powerful question: How will you measure your life?

It took me months to completely answer that question because I felt that deep soul-searching was necessary. I re-evaluated my values and relationships and how I was spending my non-work time. Focusing on my personal scorecard has helped me find balance.

The quality of your life is determined by how you spend your discretionary time.

Throughout human history I am confident that no one on their deathbed said, "I wish I had spent more time at work!" Sure, we strive to make a living but shouldn't we also strive to make a life? Now, instead of only focusing on how many keynotes and seminars I give, I measure how many hikes I take with my wife.

We strive to make a living but shouldn’t we also strive to make a life?

Here are 5 ideas that can help you get started developing your own personal metrics:

1. Identify your personal values.

The first chapter in my book Water The Bamboo is about values and how to identify them. Put time and energy into discovering what your personal values are. Once you identify your values, create small ways to make them come alive.

2. Look at your calendar.

Analyze how you have spent the last 30 days in terms of your discretionary time. Are you spending quality time with people that are important to you? Are you doing things to support your values? Do you notice any patterns or habits? Are you trending how you want?

If you are going to be busy, make sure you are busy with what’s important.

3. Mind the gap.

Address the gap between where you are and where you want to be by creating an action plan.

4. Avoid the home run mentality.

Set small doable goals. People will often make big personal goals for a huge payoff and are disappointed because they don't measure up. Instead, focus on small improvements consistently.

5. Be careful of flirts and distractions.

It's okay to change your mind about what's important, but make sure it's a value driven change, not because of a flirt or distraction.

How do you make sure you're measuring the right things?