How Do You Know If You’re Succeeding or Failing?

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"Anything can be a success or a failure depending on the metrics we’re using. So the question is—what actually matters to us?"

For accessibility and ease, you can listen to this post narrated by Mike:


I used to compare myself to others all the time.

I’d become so envious of what everyone else was accomplishing and succeeding at. I remember reading about a person whose blog hit 100,000 subscribers in less than six months, and I seethed in envy.

I remember seeing a friend fill up her new program while I was struggling with mine, and I just felt like the biggest failure in the world.

Feeling “too much” and “not enough” my whole life, I’d compare myself to others. To those people who must be right. To those who seemed to effortlessly get all of the results.

And I’d feel like a failure.

It never occurred to me that maybe I was using the wrong metrics to evaluate my success. That other people’s metrics don’t matter if they’re not aligned with our genius. That the only metrics that ever matter for us visionaries are our genius, our life purpose, our subjectivity.

I can’t tell you how many times I thought I failed at something because I was looking at the wrong metrics. And I would have given up had I not known my unique genius.

If I were evaluating this blog for making me super rich, I’d feel like a failure. But I never would have discovered the Unmistakable, infinite genius of the Sacred Branding® system or found my Unmistakable voice, for that matter, were I not writing and unpacking every single weekday.

And, if I were all concerned with “making mad gains” in exercise, I probably would have quit long ago. But the effects on my mental health and Aligning my mind, body, and spirit are life-changing.

And I probably would have quit the Unique Genius Experiment long ago if I were looking to grow a viral Instagram account. But the way it’s forced me to Vulnerably explore stepping outside of my comfort zone has been unmatched.

Anything can be a success or a failure depending on the metrics we’re using. So the question is—what actually matters to us?

And that’s a question about who we really are. About our life purpose. About our genius.

If we don’t know who we are or what our genius is, then of course we’ll adopt the predominant metrics out there. We’re inundated with them all the time. And the odds that those metrics are going to actually make us fulfilled or speak to our strengths is really, really low.

I spent a long time in my life trying to live by other people’s metrics. Trying to create a type of success that I convinced myself that I wanted because I’d heard it so many times in my life.

And the sad truth is that I reached the pinnacle of that version of success. And I ended up unhappy and sick, vomiting blood.

The cool thing about being human is we have free will. We have the ability to make decisions about how we live our lives. Sometimes, we’re privileged to have lots of options to make those decisions. Sometimes, we’re limited to just a few. But we always have agency to make decisions.

And it’s really hard to evaluate if the decision is a successful one for us or not. So we need metrics—benchmarks—to tell us if it’s moving us in the direction we want to go or away from it.

And we can choose for those metrics to be someone else’s. But, truthfully, that just means every decision we make will be moving us in the direction of them and not necessarily towards ourselves.

There’s so much in this life distracting us and pulling us away from ourselves. Trying desperately to achieve something that will make us feel worthy and powerful and loved but all the while moving further and further away from who we are.

And I can tell you firsthand, it doesn’t end pretty.

Or we can choose to pick ourselves. Every time. Evaluate our decisions based on if they bring us closer to our genius or not.

And sometimes that means sacrificing other metrics, like prestige or time or even money. Sometimes that means choosing ourselves even when it feels crazy or foolish.

But I’ve never had one moment in my life where I respected myself less for choosing myself. In fact, even when I chose myself and I royally failed, I still felt more confident and successful. Because I chose what actually mattered to me in the face of a lot of pressure to do the opposite.

And I’ve stayed the course when a lot of people have told me it was hopeless. And given up when a lot of people have told me I’m foolish to do so. All because I started living by my own metrics—my genius. And that’s the only thing guaranteed to bring me closer to my own fulfillment.

Every decision I make these days, I only have to ask myself, “Does it make me feel more or less Aligned? Does it make me feel more or less Successful? Does it make me feel more or less Zany? Does it make me feel more or less Free? Does it make me feel more or less Unmistakable? Does it make me feel more or less Vulnerable?”

I’m serious. Hiring decisions. Marketing decisions. Relationship decisions. Decisions about new programs or investments or even spiritual practices. I only have to ask those few questions.

Our actions are defined by our goals. And our goals are evaluated by our metrics. So, we have to know who we are and what we actually want to start building toward that life.

And a life built on our genius not only fulfills us; it actually plays to our strengths. It’s kind of like rigging the game in our favor. We’re taking actions where we feel good and where we’re already geniuses.

 And it might not look successful to others. It might not match up with conventional metrics. But, damn, if it doesn’t feel purposeful and fulfilling to us.

At the end of the day, I want to live a life that feels so fucking magical to me, even if it looks really bland and boring to everyone else. I want to feel worthy and powerful and like a goddamn genius. Because I am one.

I want to choose myself first. Every single time. Making decisions that make me proud to be me.

And that starts with knowing how I evaluate those decisions. From the place of my genius.


Questions for Reflection:

*Answer in a journal, in the comments right here, or take it over to the Sacred Branding® Facebook group where we can support one another:

How do you know if you’re succeeding or failing?

— Do you ever compare yourself to others around you and feel envious? Do you feel like you’re failing compared to what others are doing? Do you beat yourself up for not hitting particular metrics or milestones that others are achieving?

— What metrics are you using to decide if you’re a success or failure? Think of one area of your life where you’re feeling particularly challenged. What metrics are you evaluating against there?

— What if you’re judging yourself against someone else’s metrics? What if your pursuit of those goals are moving you closer to what they want but not necessarily what you most want? What if using your own unique genius as metrics brings you closer to yourself and builds self-respect every time? What if making decisions according to your genius is kind of like rigging your life in your favor and ensuring success and fulfillment?

Mike Iamele

Mike Iamele

Mike writes about how artists, entrepreneurs, healers, and visionaries of all kinds can actually build a life around the genius inside of them.

He's CEO of Mike Iamele LLC and Creator of Sacred Branding® and the Sacred Circle.

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