After a ton of friends recommended it, I finally picked up Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. You can visit that link for a synopsis on the book. But essentially, it is a discussion about success and what elements (timing, talent, practice, place, parenting, etc) make up the perfect formula for creating it. The anecdotes are wonderful, and I find that I am referring back to the book when thinking about anything from my kids’ futures to the challenges our clients are working on.
The book analyzes what factors had to come into play in order for a person to be truly, outrageously successful. Getting a more in-depth look into Bill Gates childhood (whose high school received a computer in 1968) or the KIPP school in New York or the perfect year for an entrepreneur to be born (right around 1835 in case you’re wondering, sorry) is all fascinating. It’s also a good motivator for reevaluating our standards.
Reading the book made me think about the idea of success and how we define that as individuals and organizations. Marijean and Rusty can tell you that I am an obnoxious number keeper. Since my job is business development, I always want to know where we are in contrast to our goals. Is our percentage of growth what we had estimated it would be? Do we have the right size and amount of clients?
But what I’m finding is that both personally and professionally, I feel more successful when the clients that we do have are satisfied AND my family has dinner on the table. What I mean is that, I’m never going to have Bill Gates-style success. I don’t have 10,000 hours to dedicate to development. I could not cater to 75 clients. And actually, taking VERY good care of the clients that we do have seems to be what we do best. To me, spending the time to make them successful and still maintain happy lives outside of work is the ideal.
Maybe I’m soft. Have any of you read this book? Did it make you reevaluate what you believe success to mean?