A few days ago I had a chat with the daughter of a friend of mine and she was very curious to find out what the word success means. She is 8 years old and just found out that I refer to myself as a success coach. The word coach is something she knew because at her school they have a coach for their sports activities. She figured that a success coach is probably not related to a sports coach, but wasn’t quite sure what it was all about.
How to explain to an 8 year old child what success is about without sounding really boring and at the same time using simple and clear words to describe success in general? I have to say, I love the way children look at things. The easiness with how they accept things but at the same time questioning it (the word WHY springs to mind).
At these moments Jenny Lawson springs to my mind, specially her last book “Furiously Happy” Beside being a number 1 New York Times bestselling author, blogger and journalist, she is also a manic-depressive with her own, sarcastic and fascinating point of of view of life and everything in it (highly recommended read). In her book she describes the way she measures success for herself in her own way and somehow this really stuck with me. Maybe I have some of her tendencies :).
She describes it like that:
Make a list of all the great things you love or hate. Assign an action to each item on the list and give each action a number between 1 and 10, identifying the difficulty for you to do the action. Now set yourself a goal of the total amounts of points you need to mark a day as successful.
Everyday mark the actions you’ve done on the list and add-up the points to measure your success. Sounds simple enough, right? Well it is and that is the beauty of it.
The list of my friends daughter looked like this:
Help a spider back into the wild without squishing it. 10 points
Give dad a big hug. 2 points
Give mum a big hug. 2 points
Finish my homework. 8 points
Take the dog for a walk. 8 points
Clean my room. 15 points
Call grandma and tell her I love her. 5 points
Clean my teeth. 5 points
Bring the bin out. 5 points
The list goes on for a few more points, but I think you get the gist. She has set her goal to achieve 50 points per day. Any day with more then 50 points is a successful day.
She has been doing her list for a few days now, adjusted some of the points for specific actions and added more actions to the list and she is loving it.
Now she understands success and she knows what a success coach does. 15 points for me 🙂
When was the last time you’ve looked at your own list?