Defining Success in Project Life

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve started a new job.  I’m two months in and I love it.  I’ve had people tell me I’m in the honeymoon phase but I don’t care – I love my new job!  I feel happier and proud to be a part of a company that I believe in and the product they produce.

With any job, one typically sits down with their manager and defines their goals for the year – they are both personal and specific to how you’re going to make a difference and provide value to the company.  My last job had HR come in and introduce the SMART method – defining goals based on Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound.  Seems reasonable and easy…but it’s not.

I’ve struggled setting my goals these last few weeks.  My current job, even though I’m still a Project Manager, my goals are different than I had at my last job.  I’m responsible for different things and therefore I’m measured differently.  I have different kinds of projects and I’m measured differently.  I still have to deliver projects on time, on budget, and quality is important but the specifics are different. It’s almost like I don’t know exactly what I’m getting into.

This whole process has made me think of what it means to me to be successful.  How do I define my own success?  Three years ago when I set out a goal to follow through, I wouldn’t say it was easy, but at the time but it made sense to me.  My goals were S.M.A.R.T.  – they were something I could attain and relevant to me and they were time sensitive.  The goal – “Complete one event (marathon, half marathon, cycling event  or triathlon) per month.”   Now, how can I repeat that – minus the cancer?  What do I want to get out of life?  What do I want to get out of ‘Project Life?’

I woke up this morning and looking for something to watch (it’s usually bad tv that I don’t like to admit to watching)  as I drink my coffee and ended up turning on the movie ‘Rent.’  Music always speaks to me and there it was – the first song- 525,600 minutes in a year.  Here’s a few of the lyrics.

“525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear. 525,600 minutes – how do you measure,  measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.

In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. In 525,600 minutes –

How do you measure a year in the life?

How about love? How about love? How about love? Measure in love.

Seasons of love.”

So how do you measure your success?  It’s different for everyone.  I welcome your opinion, your feedback.  Maybe you’ll inspire me.  Maybe I’ll inspire you.

2 thoughts on “Defining Success in Project Life

  1. Love that song. My success is measured in different ways. Getting a PR in a race, being a good person to someone who needs a lift, getting a “good job” from the boss. I guess I look at the everyday things.


  2. You know I used to have a URL that walked you through an annual personal performance review. I find if I set my goals – and make them attainable – I’m happier with my plan. I’ve made lofty goals in the past and end up unhappy because i’m not reaching them. As for defining success, that’s a tough one. I find I feel more successful when I have a plan, I execute the plan and regardless of how well it does go, I find I’m happy because I made the effort. Just showing up sometimes is all I need. Of course making $$ to survive helps me feel successful too.


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