Are there KPIs for happiness?

“What gets measured, gets managed.” This is the much quoted axiom by famous management guru Peter Drucker. In fact, it’s used so much that we start to apply it in our personal lives, too, trying to measure our personal happiness with key performance indicators (KPIs).

Annual salary, performance score to determine bonus level, corporate job grade, or value of a house in a well-known district are often considered as easily measurable metrics to showcase our success to the outside world and ourselves. If we are successful, it follows we must be happy as well!

Of course, personal success is like a magnet to draw cool friends and partners, make our parents proud and buy trendy clothes. This earns us a status in society which helps to boost our self-esteem and pride. Life seems to be good; but we have to work at it!

But the thing is we start to chase those KPIs so hard that enjoying the outcome of that “success” becomes hard. We are so obsessed with winning that we spend most of our time in the chase instead of stopping to care for things which really matter to us.

Define your own KPIs

Financial stability is important for everyone but, after a certain amount of money, more doesn’t make you happier. Once you have that good-enough base, striving to get to a higher level often forces you to sacrifice other, often very important things.

So, it’s important for you to define what in business are termed – “leading KPIs.” Those are the things which drive you the most and, ultimately, lead to your definition of success. We do exactly the same in business by measuring, for example, customer satisfaction and continuously working hard to meet their expectations to eventually attain the performance metric.

In the case of your personal life, you are the customer! So, don’t measure your financial results only but, rather, focus on the leading KPIs which truly matter to you and not others. Business performance managers would say that measuring financials only is like driving a car looking at the rear window!

Work for a cause, not applause

Although most of us were encouraged to choose a career path which is a true calling, often we didn’t know our true passion at the time or felt that passion didn’t seem the way forward financially. So, it was natural if we chose a track based on what seemed practical instead of close to the heart.

In the last analysis, no matter your age or where you are in life, it’s never too late to pursue your true calling. Think about your life as a creative challenge to reach out for things which bring you happiness and joy. Forget about the “looks good, feels bad” job or your material success. You own your life and you don’t need the “old success KPIs” to drive your path. Be courageous and take a step back and look at life again!

2 comments
  1. So true Agne! Title and bonuses does not make me happy or really engaged. But great colleagues, challenges I can solve, making a difference does. A Thank You from a happy customer is the best motivation there is.

    1. Great thoughts Kaia! Thanks for sharing your own motivations, I really like the one about the customers. It’s so much reminds me what you have represented in your previous role at Maersk. 🙂

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