Measure Your Results

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Life is busy. You work hard, juggle plenty of balls, keep pushing forward. But are you getting the results you want?

Early in my working life I was given a very bad piece of advice. The advice-giver meant well, but the advice itself sucked.

I’ve always been efficient; if I can do something in 3 steps, why take 5? But as an employee we are often measured by how “busy” we are; efficiency often isn’t rewarded. When I was just starting out, working for a consulting company, I was once told, “If you don’t have anything to do, pick up the biggest box you can find and walk around with it.” In other words, look busy; impressions count.

I became self-employed very soon after that.

I measure myself, in part, by my efficiency. Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes that need to achieve gets in the way of me doing something new because new and efficient don’t often go together. So I must look at both what I want to achieve and what my results are.

I love to write. I can spend heaps of my life writing. But if all that writing is getting in the way of the results I’m trying to achieve, then it’s no good. I’ve got to be strong enough to push away from what I’m good at and venture into uncertain territory.

If you’re unhappy with the results you’re currently getting, you need to rethink what you want and what you’re doing to get there. And a big part of that is thinking and speaking in positive ways about what you want to have in your life.

If you hate your job and keep talking about how much you hate your job, the job isn’t going to magically get better. Instead, look for the lessons you must learn so you can stop banging your head against that particular wall. Change the way you see your job and your job will change too. Talk about the good things. Focus on the challenges, the learning, the people. Embrace the positive.

When I started My Money My Choices, it was with the knowledge that if I could get enough people talking about their money together, moving along a path together, that could change how people thought about their money. Instead of using it to brag – buying fancy to impress – we could use it to enrich. Enrich our own lives, and enrich the lives of others. Instead of money being a measure of success – he who has the most toys wins – we could recognize it as the tool it actually is, and use it to achieve the richness we’re seeking from our lives.

I have a vision and a belief. I know if enough people talk about money and are using it with purpose and in a sensible way, we can move away from the chaos of debt. And I measure my success with every story you share about moving closer to financial freedom.

What do you believe to be true, and how will you measure it?

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Gail Vaz-Oxlade

Gail Vaz-Oxlade wants YOU! Join MyMoneyMyChoices.com to get smarter about your money and help others get smarter about theirs. Isn’t it time we eliminated financial illiteracy? Come find me on Google+ and on Twitter.

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4 Responses to “Measure Your Results”

  1. financial freedom is indeed important and is what I would wish for everyone. in the search for financial freedom, don’t overlook the things that are most important to you, such as family, friends and the bonds you may or may not have with them. you will not have them forever and now is the time to be paying attention to enriching your life and those other lives you touch. its important to have money in the bank to meet your immediate needs and those of the future, but its not everything. for every decision we make there is a price to be paid, there is always a trade off. maybe consider this before you make the decision to work more hours when its not absolutely necessary if it means spending less quality time where its important. I don’t believe that success means that you measure yourself against those who may have the bigger house, all the expensive toys, or the best of everything that money can buy. you don’t know anything about what is going on behind closed doors in their homes or what trade offs they have made based on their decisions in getting to the point of looking successful to others or themselves. all you can do is the best that you can and you are the only person who can answer that.
    if you have done your best in all things, treated people honestly and decently, used your time wisely to enrich it, consider your time well spent, paid attention to the lessons that come your way and learned from them, content with what you have, like who you are and what you see when you look in the mirror without conceit, then that to me is success.

  2. This is a very interesting post, Gail; thoughtful and thought-provoking.

    I too have a favourite thing that I do and I have been fortunate to turn that into a career. I also freelance and because of this happy confluence of liking what I do, making money doing it, and becoming more efficient, I am very fortunate to make a good living. And, no surprise, I am in good financial shape (no debts, financially independent, and able to retire when I want to).

    I believe that if someone is fortunate to do something that they are passionate about, in effect, they go through a transition from acquiring skills to becoming a master of their craft. By embracing this concept of mastering a craft, we develop a greater sense of self worth and a clearer focus on who and what we are. We become better at making choices that serve us rather than serving others. Thus, our work has value other than just a financial one and it plays an important role in realizing our potential.

    Unfortunately, many of us lose sight of this potential value to the work that we do. People get into jobs that they find dull, or workplaces that are toxic, and they begin the sad, often-repeated process of trying to compensate through needless, debt-fueled consumption. When we are burdened with debt, it is really tough to maintain (or even begin to have) the focus needed to keep on track to develop our skills and become good at what we want to do.

    I find too that amongst the ranks of the indebted wage slaves that I encounter, there is very little risk taking or at least, very little effort at it. Paradoxically, a lot to them are actually at great risk because of their debt. The current condition seems to be that many people are about a month away from complete financial ruin if they lose a job. If they could muster themselves to put aside their destructive behaviour and focus on taking calculated risks that help them realize their potential, I think many of them would be happier.

  3. We have a term for this called “the sweaty guy syndrome”. If you’re sweating and ‘appear’ to be over-exerted, then people somehow believe you’re working hard and doing a good job. Too bad they fail to see that the sweaty guy is just out fo shape and things take him at least twice as long…

  4. avatar Dawn Morandin Says:
    June 28, 2014 at 9:15 am

    People in my neighborhood often see me walking my dog at different times and wonder when do I work! Well,the truth is I have chosen not to work my butt off for material stuff that I have to dust and worry about paying off the CC I used to pay for all the stuff. We are happy with our secondhand stuff and the time spent together instead of on the 401 stuck in traffic. We buy only enough food to last 5 days and eat every morsel,yes some meals can be weird at the end of the week but it’s never boring.I buy all my clothing ( except underwear etc,) at the Sally Ann and goodwill, garage sales and online sites in our town. No sales tax,no delivery charges no worries,when it’s seen better days we move on. I have no car,never have, taxi, bus or my bike, I took a job in town so I didn’t need one, only work part time, bought a fixer upper from the owner of a house in town ( no Realtor ) have spent the last 8 years completely re doing the whole house ourselves, when we has the money, I even bought the kitchen off Kijiji ( he delivered it for free) we know where every penny goes and discuss every purchase. I’m happy,healthy,stress free and loving it.

    Keep up the good work Gail.

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