Sometimes you can recognize progress. Usually, though, it takes much longer to see or experience any type of forward motion. There are many ways to measure progress. In the high technology marketing world I have lived in almost my entire career, just about everything I have worked on had some type of measurement tool available. This became normal to me, but not every job has this high level of what I refer to as disciplined scrutiny.
Feeling like you are under the microscope every day can be exhausting, and more stressful than I care to think about. Although it can take its toll, especially if you don’t know how to inject a sense of counter balance into the mix, being professionally trained to make progress on a daily basis does have benefits.
Let me tell you about a friend who was also a former client – I helped her to produce her first Jazz CD. For most of our lives, she has been the complete opposite of me in almost everything we each did, professionally. When I would give her marketing, branding, or business advice, she either did not listen to my suggestions, or she would do the exact opposite.
As you can imagine for someone who is used to making daily progress, working with her at times was incredibly frustrating, but I knew what we were working on would pay off one day. I just didn’t know how long it would take. Fast forward almost 20 years. As we reconnected, she reminded me how I used to tell her, “I know the person who can accomplish doing what we are talking about is hiding in you, and will someday make their debut.”
Well this day arrived, and for the first time I witnessed an example of progress being made as I watched her giving a voice lesson to a promising future Broadway singer. Teaching voice lessons and getting paid to do so has always been something my friend wanted to do, and she was doing this right in front of me.
The next example of progress I saw from my friend occurred as she was skeptically listening to financial advice. I later learned that she took the next step and scheduled a time to review and put into action the financial advice given to her. She was listening!
This woman had always wanted to make a living from her ability to sing. After more than two and a half decades of pursuing this dream, it is now a reality. Seeing this type of progress is something that took far longer than I imagined, but it did happen. The best part is that the progress my friend is now making is at an exponentially swift pace. She now has perspective on what it means to achieve the kind of progress she has made.
My friend has always believed in her ability to be able to make a living from her natural gift, but the most gratifying part is seeing her now be able to make longer-term decisions, including living in an artist’s loft in New York City. The most remarkable part of where she lives today, is that she only came across this space after she lost her last apartment and everything in it to a building fire. Luckily, she and her dog were out walking when the fire occurred, and no one was hurt.
How progress is measured depends on the type of work you are doing, and can be subjective to measure depending on what it is you are trying to quantify. My profession is a creative, strategic and heavily people-oriented one, designed to have a positive influence on people. The measurements are unique to the work I do. The point is that even a small amount of progress can be beneficial.
Sometimes it is important to take time to celebrate our small progress wins, as over time they accumulate and can produce amazing results. My friend is a great illustration. I hope you will soon have your own examples of progress you can appreciate and be proud of.
This story is dedicated to my long-time friend, Ellen O’Brien, who also happens to be an incredibly talented Jazz and near future Broadway singer. Listen to some of her songs at www.ellenobrien.com
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.
Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, producing repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally.