Success equals sleeping at night


Sometimes I forget what I’m trying to do here.

I get wrapped up in whatever “hot button” issue my client is all worked up about today (It’s usually something related to how hard that’s going to be to waterproof) Then, I shift into “trying to please everyone” mode & work myself into a frenzy. I’m pretty good at this, right? I can fix it. But, I’m not going to be able to please everyone, all the time. And, that’s a very steep and scary edge to walk on while trying to keep my balance. It’s easy to lose focus, when I’m worried about slipping.

Sometimes, I forget what I’m trying to do here.

If I push myself, really hard, maybe I could squeeze out a little more density on the site for the client. If I push myself, maybe I can minimize all the potential problems that will rear their heads during construction. If I really apply myself, maybe I can find a way to make the building less expensive and more profitable for my client. Maybe I can put in more hours tonight? Maybe I can ask the interns to work overtime? I can double up my efforts on this one, right? I can keep pushing that idealistic vision of perfection up that continuously steep slope of never ending expectation, right? But, it’s exhausting.

And, I do it. Again and again. With each new client I assume I can solve it all, and push myself to that edge of perfection. I’ve been pushing up that hill for years. I have a stream of happy clients in my wake. But, I’m exhausted. When I define success as “happy” clients, do I feel like I’ve reached the goal? Do I get that warm glow of accomplishment that comes with the knowledge of a “job well done”? Sure, But is that enough? Is that what success is? Why am I so tired?

Sometimes, I forget what I’m trying to do here.

So, I think about what’s important to me. Where my passions are, what my talents are. What I can do to make a difference. What part I can play in the overall scheme of making this stack of “not working” move a little closer to that stack of “kind of working”. And I re-calibrate my definition of success. Did I make this better than it would have been without my efforts? Did I help? Yes? Ok, then I can rest.

Success equals sleeping at night.


All photos are from mindfulness’s photostream on Flickr and are used under the creative commons license. You can check out more of their amazing photos HERE