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What do you measure your success against?

“The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
(William James, 1842 ~ 1910).

Isn’t it funny how we can work so hard at something and put our all into it but it’s not a success until someone else says it is?

For the last few months I’ve been planning a trip for approximately 60 people to travel to New York for the Advertising Women of New York conference. This includes finding hotel accommodations, booking advertising agency visits and the conference. Doesn’t seem like much, but with 60 people it’s not a small task by any means. Just collecting the money takes weeks. Then of course there are the people who change their minds back and forth a thousand times about the small things.

While planning this there has always been this weight on my shoulders, a little voice in my head saying that I have to make everyone happy. I can’t mess this up. I’ve got to prove myself. Now the trip is only 48 hours away. Everything is done and out of my control. It had been very stressful for me and so when my supervisor finally looked me in the eye and told me he was proud of how well I put together the trip it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
Then I thought about it and couldn’t figure out why I needed to hear that. I know that I did everything I could for this trip to be as successful as possible, and I should never have measured my success on the approval of someone else.

I started to think about this on a larger scale. Every day we deal with situations in which we feel this need for approval, for this gold star sticker and badge of success- but why? I think becoming aware of this has helped me de-stress in certain situations. I now sit back and think about it- do I really need this persons approval or can I be happy with what I’ve done without it?

><(("> Michela Fleury

Michela is a ><(("> Team Member at Catch Your Limit, a management firm with offices in Tallahassee, Florida and Richmond, Virginia. To learn more, visit

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