The Goal

Measuring success

What’s your goal?

What’s the purpose of your work?

If you think it’s ratings,or rankings, I respectfully disagree. Our focus on ratings blurs our vision and limits our potential reach.

Now, more than at any other time in history, so many of us calculate success with numbers, because they are easily available. 500,000 listeners. 1 million Facebook followers. 2 million readers of our blog.

But those numbers are a by-product of our work, not the purpose of it.

The real work is how NOT to hang your self-worth, your sense of success and merits, the fullness of your heart, and the stability of your soul on those numbers — on that constant positive reinforcement and external validation.”

“That’s the only real work, and the irony is that the more ‘successful’ you get, by either your own standards or external standards, the harder it is to decouple all those inner values from your work.”

“I think we often confuse the doing for the being.”

That’s Maria Popova. I’ve been a long-time reader of her blog, Brain Pickings.

I believe the purpose of our work is to make emotional connections with other human hearts and thereby, even in the briefest encounter, to reflect back to them an image of their best self.

When we do that, consistently, ratings and Facebook followers are a by-product of the intensity of that connection.

I don’t think it’s easy. To the contrary, that’s why so few on-air talents try it, much less achieve it. Yet every great air talent you’ve ever heard, from any era, has done this, even if not with conscious preparation to that goal.

Their gift was their ability to project deep empathy to millions of individual listeners with individual needs and hopes. It felt like they were speaking directly to me and my needs and hopes.

Until you know your purpose, you cannot know the specific content that supports it.

Your ratings may be good, because of your format, or your wit, or pure luck — but you will never reach your potential if that’s how you measure your success.

It’s scary to let those external markers go, but by letting go, by answering a deeper calling, you unlock — unblock — the reason you are here and the reason you felt the need to do what you do.

If you affect even one life for the better today, and only one, how can you deny your success?