by Richard Monette B.Sc., B.Ed., M.A.,
My professional purpose is clear - I am hired to coach people and
organizations to achieve their highest potential in terms of success.
Having facilitated this quest for several different organizations
and individuals, I've realized that the overall process of success
can be summarized by one formula:
Success = Results Delivered X Fulfillment Lived
The first variable in the equation - results delivered - is obvious
to most: to achieve true success, concrete and tangible results
must be delivered: the corporation must post higher profits; the
executive given the promotion; the Olympic athlete awarded the gold
The other variable in the equation - fulfillment lived - is more
fleeting in nature. It is challenging to identify those intangible
elements that bring fulfillment to an organization or an individual.
However, this variable is a multiplier, so there is a measurable
value to engaging in "pragmatic imagination," or the act of giving
a concrete definition to these fleeting, intangible (or so-called
"soft") outcomes of success.
Let me use the example of an accomplished athlete who dreams of
an Olympic gold medal. The recipe to deliver the result variable
in our equation is straightforward: do whatever it takes to win
- advanced training, increased strengthening, experience with world-class
competition, etc. But let's imagine our athlete wants to go beyond
these obvious results. Along with acknowledging the hard work required,
she clearly identifies other elements of her long-term success.
In that frame of mind, she chooses "life-long pride" as a critical
factor of fulfillment that will enhance the value of the tangible
results found in winning the gold medal. This act of consciously
defining the full scope of what constitutes true success will enhance
her quest for success. To explain a little bit further, if her focus
were strictly to deliver the result of winning the gold medal, then
taking illegal performance-enhancing drugs could be a viable and
justifiable option for this athlete. Once "life-long pride" is identified
as the critical multiplier within the success equation, doping is
no longer an option.
There are two challenges to completing the "success formula". First,
one needs to broaden his or her understanding of what constitutes
true success. In our fast-paced world, the quest for success, both
by individuals and organizations, is often fuelled by the pursuit
of ready-made, easily identifiable but incomplete results, which
lead to unfulfilling success, or even failure within the realm of
the bigger picture.
The second challenge is to be able to conceive or envision the fulfillment
part of the equation - to make the abstract components of success
tangible and definable. In general terms, fulfillment is usually
the outcome of three elements: happiness, meaning, and legacy. Let's
go back to our athlete. One of her challenges is to make tangible
a somewhat subjective component called "life-long pride." To conceive
the fulfillment side of her success, she could imagine the pride
she will experience during presentations to school children and
aspiring young athletes, to envision her impact on these thousands
of children and youth by sharing the story of her quest. Our athlete
can go a step further to keep herself on track by periodically evaluating
how much pride she feels in her progression toward success. She
has made her Olympic career more complete as it is also a quest
for happiness, meaning and legacy.
The process of seeking greater success is a courageous act of self-transformation.
To achieve better results, individuals and organizations must change
the way things are traditionally done. As difficult as change can
be, our day-to-day actions are always defined by the end result
we envision. The act of defining the fulfillment variable in the
success formula is not a license to avoid the hard work required
to deliver results. On the contrary, it involves sustained awareness,
purpose and discipline leading to more efficient and effective actions.
So, get out of your comfort zone and address both variables in the
success formula. Take the time to identify the complete picture
of what success will mean for you, or for your organization. The
time and effort invested will be well worth it.
Download the PDF
version of The Success Formula