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Simon says, “The only appropriate measure of your success is your success.”

Listen in on a conversation Simon is having with a friend.

S          Hey, how are things? What have you been up to?

F          Oh, not much. I’m retired.

S          Wow! I can’t believe you are retired. You have my most sincere condolences.

F          No, you have it all wrong. I am very happy now I am retired.

S          Well, okay. So what’s happening? What are you up to?

F          I’m not really up to anything. There is plenty to occupy my time. I am enjoying doing what I want to do for a change.

S          Great! Good for you. Tell me about what you want to do.

F          Well, nothing special. I like to be spontaneous. I don’t want to be tied down with plans. There is always enough to keep me busy.

S          I see. You are into busy work.

F          I wouldn’t put it quite like that.

There you go. The only problem with not having anything to do right now is if you do not take charge of your success, the busy work may just last forever. What it took for you to succeed is not the same as it takes to be successful. His friend most assuredly succeeded in the past but shows no signs of being successful as time goes on. He decided to rest on his success; and that is a shame, given what he could have potentially contributed to the success chains of other people, e. g., children or young adults who aspire to be where he has been, the work of his church or the well-being of his neighbors.

A similar track is followed by people who believe the good job they did yesterday is still a good job today, the services line they have today serves their success tomorrow. They do not bother themselves with expanding and enhancing their internal resources, improving their services line, or marketing their services to the world. They have it made, they think. They are also the people who are confused and shocked when there services are no longer needed, not wanted anymore, when they are dropped out of the success game as excess baggage not contributing to anyone’s success chain. Life can sure be unfair at times, can’t it?

Once you have succeeded, more of the same does not make you more successful. There is a small, new twist here. Suppose your primary service is resolving disputes. It does not matter whether your special expertise is with disputes between labor and management, your children, government agencies and private corporations, or race horses and their jockeys. You are an expert. People need your services and some even want them.

Further suppose you believe you will be more successful if you provide more of these services. You have two choices: you can provide more dispute resolution to the same people or find others who need or want the same service. Either way, you do more of the same, believing more is better, more makes you more successful.

The first approach means you provide more service to the same people, whether they need it or not. The second approach means you are serving a broader market with yesterday’s skills, yesterday’s knowledge, yesterday’s expertise. Whether you provide too much to too few or outdated services to many, you are not succeeding. You may continue to be successful for a while; but eventually, people catch on. You may think the person you are serving today is not the sharpest knife on the rack; but you inevitably find yourself cut off at the knees one day, wondering what happened, without a clue about when it happened or why.

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