originalWould you rather be successful or valuable? I ask myself that often and then tonight I read an article by Tim Wilhoit on exploreB2B titled Are You Successful or Valuable

In the article he talks about successful being wealthy and valuable being honorable. The article starts with a quote by Albert Einstein that says that honor is more important than wealth. And as Tim writes he makes some great points about the good and bad of being either successful or valuable.

Success isn’t always about Wealth
But here is the thing, as I said, I ask myself each night am I successful or am I valuable. To know the answer to that you need to know my character, where I come from, where I have been and where I am today. Just last week, I told my wife, “I am at the top of my game”. Her response was, “How can you be at the top of your game if we are living paycheck to paycheck?”

She makes a valid point. We are not living paycheck to paycheck but we are not successful as defined in Tim’s article. Wealthy, like Jay-Z? Nope. Lavish living? Nope. Well then maybe I am valuable? In the words of Stuart Smalley “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.” That has to say something about the respect I receive and the honor I have. But it still isn’t how I define success and value.

How-to-Succeed-in-businessSo let me define success in terms of beating the odds and achievements. As a young boy I watched my parents collect a welfare check each month. Moves from hotel room to hotel room, apartment to apartment. I moved so often, I used to pray to stay in 1 elementary school for more than a few month. I grew a bit older and decided I won’t be like my parents. “I’m gonna make something of myself, be a leader, be successful.” I put a plan in place and started a journey reaching milestones of success along the way. So I joined the football team and eventually becomes captain. Joined the Army, to help pay for college, did a couple of years in the National Guard and got my college degree and some military discipline along the way. I have nice job. I met a nice girl. I have a couple kids. I bought a house. And I make a decent living.

So I have beaten the odds. And since I have seen the bottom, my bench marks start pretty low and every goal achieved is another success. As my journey progresses my challenges get harder, my bench marks rise, and my achievements are even more rewarding. But I got there because I plans, works hard and achieves my goals. I am proud to say I am Successful.

How does my story of Success translate into business and decision making? Changes happen almost instantly. What is trending now is gone just as fast. Agility, in my professional opinion, is the major key to be successful. You must plan to reach a very specific goal then be agile as road blocks present themselves. Adapt and adjust to stay on the path.

Value isn’t always about Money
What does value mean to this me? Tim defined value as striving to be respected. In my story above I only got to where I was because people trusted me along the way, proving me honorable. But to me value is something very different.

SuccessUnder the circumstances and roads I have to traveled, value was always about worth and money. How many food stamps would I need to buy milk at the grocery store? What is my time worth in dollars? How do I price a freelance consulting gig for a client with annual revenues in the millions? By setting a price for my time the client has to consider their ROI. But really what they have to consider is “Is he worth that price?”.

Whether they think I am worth that price or not I have set my value. I have put a price on my time, knowledge, experience and my word that I will make them successful. Or they will counter and negotiate what they think I and the project is worth to them. Value and worth is subjective. And just like a prom dress you eventually find it worthless or worse useless and disregard it.

But wait successful? Make them money? Build there business and reputation? What are we talking about? No matter whether you agree with Tim’s definitions or mine you can see how quickly these words can become interchangeable and confusing.

Tim ends with saying “That is the type of business man that I personally strive to be”. He is saying he is successful in many ways also but measures his success by being trustworthy. I for one have reached successes because I am valuable as defined in Tim’s article. I am respected, trustworthy and reliable. I could have went down a road of destruction but I didn’t and that makes me successful. I am valuable because I have what it takes to be successful as defined earlier.

In business we measure ROI on everything we do as a form of success. We measure data from 1 campaign to the next to understand success or failure. We ask questions like: How many leads were generated? Were they qualified leads? Why weren’t there more conversions? How much did we make from that campaign? Wins are based on revenue or loss. We measure revenue to define the value of a company and it’s success. We grade the value of a lead by asking what kind of success rate will we have with this potential business opportunity. We put value in the form of a dollar amount on a deal and not til the deal is closed do we then consider it a success. Everything else is failure, not valuable and unsuccessful.

What can you take away from this?
Be a good planner
Know your self worth
Be a leader
Be Agile to change
Be successful as you define success
Be valuable as you define value
Success isn’t always about Wealth
Value isn’t always about Money