Measuring Success

Measuring success is a very personal concept as everyone has different goals, aspirations and targets. The actual size of the success you are aiming for makes a difference too. I count myself lucky to be able to discuss a variety of different levels of success through this article as I feel that my achievements so far outweigh the disappointments – though I’ve had plenty of those.

The Encarta English dictionary quotes success as simply as “Achievement of desired aim” and also “something that turns out as planned or intended”. These are my favourite definitions compared to another “impressive achievement, especially the attainment of fame, wealth or power”!

Many people would most likely start off with making a youth sports team, passing exams or Graduation (definitely a big success for anyone!). However, I class my first big success when, as a 15 year old, I was told that subject to attaining the correct grades in my school exams I would be joining the UK’s Royal Air Force as an apprentice aircraft technician at the ripe age of 16 and 2 months!

How your career develops and the “corporate heights” you may reach are another level of success many of us choose as a measure of how well we have done with our lives. For me, a major disappointment was the realisation that a promotion was passing me by and there was a strong likelihood that I was unable to reach my personal career goals as a result.

I had aspired to reach the rank of Sergeant by the age of 30 and then hopefully continue to move up the ranks from there. When I was told that I hadn’t been selected for promotion around my 30th birthday I began to ask questions – the answer was that I was a long way off being selected. I had worked hard and shown tremendous dedication during my military career earning excellent reports and couldn’t understand what had gone wrong.

This had happened to coincide with a couple of major events – the first being my 2 year old son refusing to even acknowledge me after I had been away on an operational deployment with the Airforce for over a month. After several days he communicated to my wife that the fact I had left him to go away with the aero planes had really upset him! I was faced with a rapidly deteriorating world security situation that would undoubtedly lead to even more time away which, like many military families, was going to cause upset and hurt.

At the same time, my sister in Law had successfully settled in Canada after marrying her Canadian boyfriend several years previously. We had visited several times and fallen in love the country and the lifestyle it could offer a young family. So, disgruntled at no promotion and the prospect of hurting my family I was determined to leave the only real employment I had ever had after 16 years and start again in a new country.

Looking back, I feel that my time in the Airforce WAS a complete success because I met fantastic people, learnt a tremendous amount of life skills that only experience can teach you and also gave me the confidence and determination to move on. I knew that anything was possible given the correct drive and willingness to work hard. I spent a year upgrading my qualifications and then both my wife and I spent hours researching and planning our move. During this time, our second child, a daughter, arrived to make things a little more interesting.

I left the Airforce and arrived in Canada with my family in 2003. We lived in my sister in laws basement for over 2 months while our house was being built and we set about building our new life. To keep the money coming in my wife took a job at the local movie rental store while she completed her retraining as a fitness instructor. I was able to find fulltime employment within 6 weeks which took an enormous strain off life.

We have often discussed the point at which we said, “Yes, we’ve made it” and we seem to agree the 2 year mark was an important milestone. Both our children are settled and happy enjoying the great outdoor life that Canada has to offer and not one of us wants to go back to the UK to live. We are about to apply for Canadian Citizenship and are actually looking forward to winter to go skating, skiing, tobogganing and ice fishing. I could easily say that to leave guaranteed employment, nice house and sell everything to move overseas would be our biggest success and it comes a very close second – purely because it was a team effort with my Wife. There is no doubt that we couldn’t have made it as far as we have come on our own and the thought of letting down 2 young children is enough to spur anyone on when times are getting tough.

I think my personal best success so far is to design, build and write the content for my own website with absolutely no knowledge or experience of websites. After we had settled successfully, I decided to help others in our position by writing an article on how we immigrated to Canada. I stumbled across some website building software whilst surfing the internet one night and then decided to expand the plans and build a permanent information resource on Canada instead! This may not seem a huge achievement but I have now developed this website into a successful business – not making millions but it is growing and has virtually no overheads!

I have spent a fair amount of time writing and researching the information and have over 150 pages of information on the site – all made possible by a software package. With well over 15,000 site visitors each month – a total that is growing month on month – and rankings on Google in the top 10 of over 62 million sites, the success of the site continues to amaze me. With a 4 figure income being generated mainly automatically each month through advertising my audience reaches over 75 countries worldwide. Because of this, the day I can write professionally and lead a less stressful life is drawing closer. The chances are it will be after the kids have left home but to have a second, home based income is a blessing and the lessons I have learnt through the site in both business and writing could not be taught for 100 times the price of the software I use!

Though success can never be guaranteed; hard work, determination and having a goal to aim for are essential ingredients. All the parts of my life that I class as successes have taken several years, a lot of hard work and the determination that whatever happens I will stick to my vision and keep plugging away in as small a step as required to give the end result I want.

I hope you have found this article of use and I wish you every success in YOUR future.