Measuring Success In Business Accomplishments

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It was the title that first stopped my mindless scroll through social: “Getting married is not an accomplishment”, an op-ed article that immediately piqued my interest some two years ago when it appeared on my feed. I duly shared it with a friend of mine, but stopped short of posting it to my network because the title in itself would have been enough to encourage a slew of negative comments… such is the way social media works today.

The crux of the article actually centered around how we see accomplishment today. For women, this is often lumped in with life events, such as the aforementioned getting married, engaged or pregnant; an unfortunate leftover relic from days gone by when traditional gender roles saw women focus more on landing a husband rather than a career. However, these things, according to the author, should be markers for celebration rather than masked as achievements. This particularly struck a chord with me given my own recent experiences.

In February, Infographic.ly celebrated five years in business. The same month I also got engaged. Which do you think garnered more attention?! It was almost unconsciously that the latter seemed to take over, as messages of congratulations poured in and gradually moved the focus away from my business achievement.

Of course this didn’t deter me from continuing with plans to throw a party (cake, balloons… the works) for Infographic.ly’s five-year milestone, and actually, the many floral arrangements I received for my engagement helped to enhance the setting!

Naturally, my ‘other’ news became a hot topic at the party itself, but I didn’t let it become the focal point of the evening, reminding everyone that Infographic.ly was of equal importance to me. I’ll be forever grateful for their response, because rather than letting the subject drop, they then encouraged me to open up and share all the highs and lows I’d experienced over the last five-years.

The resulting conversation gave me the opportunity to share my passion with the people who may not have fully grasped the commitment it takes to just keep going. Thankfully, the positives have outweighed the negatives over the years, and being able to share this story with those closest to me definitely added to the celebratory vibe.

Whilst it gave me a great chance to reflect, it also gave me pause for thought in how we may perceive and indeed measure accomplishment today. Does it take someone else’s acknowledgment of your success for it to count?

As any entrepreneur will tell you it takes a lot of hard work, grit and determination to make it in business today; there’s no let up, no 9-5 work schedule or place to hide when things get rocky. At times it can feel like a battle to survive and keep going, where just getting to the end of a day or week feels like a triumph – that’s the reality. Of course, this is balanced with the incredible highs you experience being your own boss, seeing your business grow and flourish day-to-day.

It’s in this vein that we rarely question our own perception of success and what constitutes an actual accomplishment. So many of our areas overlap today that there is no obvious line in the sand anymore, everything is fair game for praise, or free to go by as the case may be, unobserved.

So this is me calling it. We need to celebrate the educational and business milestones, however small they may be, just as much as the traditional life events. Alongside the bachelorette parties and baby showers, there should be breakaway days for teams to reconnect and re-energize, a toast raised when big deals are closed and significant moments in the business acknowledged and celebrated when the occasion demands it.

We’re all guilty of shrugging off success from time to time, too engrossed in the nitty gritty of daily life and running a business that we forget to take stock of what we have achieved. An engagement may provide just cause to gather your loved ones together, but so too, is marking a particularly important moment in your business… plus if you love cake, this is a brilliant excuse!

Surrounding yourself with a community that will support you in this aim is key, whether that’s like-minded colleagues, friends that have been there from the beginning, or a fellow collective of entrepreneurs. A close friend of mine even made me a customized Infographic.ly birthday card, which was so unexpected and wonderful to receive. There’s nothing like team spirit when it comes to being an entrepreneur and the thought of celebrating these milestones together makes a big difference.

When I look ahead to what the next 12 months will bring, I feel joy at the thought of married life and a clear sense of pride and determination in continuing along my entrepreneurial journey. To me there is a distinction between how I categorize these feelings, giving equal weight to what I choose to celebrate and when.

Ultimately, when it comes to markers for accomplishment, my benchmark for success is measured in the business’ bottom line.

Infographic.ly's 5 Year Birthday Party

Infographic.ly creates live data visual materials in the form of Microsites, Dashboards, Interactive Infographics, and Motion Graphic Videos with the end user in mind.