Home > Ideas and Philosophy > Experience: The Measure of Success

Experience: The Measure of Success

How does one define success? Obviously there’s more to life than success at work – the most important of which is a successful relationship with God and one’s neighbor. But I want to specifically talk about success in one’s career. How do you know that you’re doing very well at work?

At least from my experience, you know that you’re successful if people ask for you by name when they need something important done. When that happens it means that you have arrived at the point wherein people have a certain comfort zone – a strong confidence – that you are the best person for the job and you will do the needful to get it done.

Training and book study are important, but ultimately nothing teaches better than gaining experience applying what you know, and learning new things as a result of the challenges one face. To make an exaggerated example: If you plan to go to war in Afghanistan, who will you send – Sgt. John Rambo, or a fresh officer graduate of the PMA? With all due respect to the newly-minted officer, my priority would be to get Rambo as part of my assault team; just having him around will almost certainly assure me that half the battle has already been won.

I’ve had my share of combat experience. For the last two years I’ve dealt with the intricacies of building and supporting a vendor application. I thought that was bad, until I had to deal with another vendor application in my current assignment which was significantly more challenging; the problems that I had to deal with in my previous assignment looked like a minor annoyance compared to what I had to deal with for this assignment.

It is because of combat experience that we become more valuable resources to our companies. I am more valuable (and marketable!) now, with the additional experiences I gained from my new assignment, compared to where I was 12 months ago.

Every new challenge is an investment to one’s long-term success.

One of my college professors once said (more or less), “so what if you know how to solve the problem? If you’re not the one given the opportunity to solve it then what’s the point?” Some people will actually fight to be the one to have the responsibilities one might have for a particular problem because they recognize the long-term value they can get if they can just invest their time and energy to it.

It will not surprise me if I will be assigned to the next insane assignment that comes along. Such is the job hazard with name recognition and being good at what you do. You know what’s said about job rewards: “The reward of good work is more work.” However it is the experience that one will gain from dealing with new types of insanity that one learns new things and becomes more important in the long-term success of the company.

As difficult as a new assignment will be, do not be afraid to take on the challenges that it provides. Challenges, as difficult as they might be, are blessings in disguise because they are opportunities to grow and become better.

Experience is the best teacher, and the more you become good at what you do, the more successful you will be in the long run.

Jesus, I trust in You!

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Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

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