I guess every profession is different.
For up ‘n coming bands, maybe it’s playing a sold out show two nights in a row.
For new authors, maybe it’s topping the New York Time Bestseller List.
For fashion designers, maybe it’s having their dress worn by Jessica Simpson on the red carpet.
As a professional speaker, I’ve often wondered what the mark of a job well done was in my industry:
Receiving standing ovations?
Commanding high fees?
Selling thousands of dollars in books?
Addressing huge audiences?
Maybe. And I admit, all of those things used to sound great to me. But over the years I’ve come to learn that there are many other indicators of success.
Same Time Next Year
At my first NSA convention, someone reminded me, ‘Your goal is not to get a standing ovation; your goal is to be invited back next year.’
Great example: two days after hosting a breakout session with one of my association clients, the president called me and said, ‘Scott, I just wanted to tell you how much our members loved your workshop on approachability! In fact, because it was one of the highest rated sessions of the conference, we’d like to invite you back to deliver the keynote at next year’s conference!’
Nice. Not just, ‘Hey, great speech. Thanks.’ But rather, ‘Wow, that was awesome! Can you come back and do that again next year?’
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How much of your business is repeat business?
But then there’s the audience (i.e., your fans.) Let’s face it: the mark of a job well done also pertains to the feedback you receive from them. Since they do pay the bills.
I remember getting an email once from a man who was in the audience of one of my personal branding programs. He was a successful entrepreneur, known extremely well throughout the business community. In fact, I was kind of surprised to hear from him.
‘Scott,’ he wrote, ‘Your speech changed my life. I am serious. You got me thinking in whole new ways.’
Wow! Coming from him; that meant a lot to me. Another job well done!
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you just serving, or truly impacting/changing/blowing away your clients?
How’s Your Calendar Looking?
Still, aside from customer testimonials and gushing clients, there’s also the mark of a job well donee as a function of your ability to multiply your successes.
I learned this from my mentor, Shep Hyken, when I first got into the speaking business.
‘Every speech should be replaced by three others,’ Shep said.
In other words, if you can book three new speeches for every one speech you give, your calendar will always be filled.
This brings me to the best speech I ever gave in my life.
No standing ovation. No life changing audience testimonials. Not much in product sales. Hell, I didn’t even get paid for the speech! It was a freebie!
But I did book 14 speeches from inquiring audience members within the next four months.
Unbelievable. Yet another job well done!
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you sustaining yourself by multiplying your success?
Make Your Mark
Success looks different for everybody: it depends on your profession, your unique values and your goals. But it won’t come your way unless you know exactly what it looks like first. So, here’s my suggestion:
1) Create your own list called The Mark of a Job Well Done. Ask yourself, ‘If everything went perfectly, what would that look like?’
2) Consider 3-5 attainable success measures.
3) Make it your goal to achieve at least one in every single project.
Ultimately, remember that your version of mark of a job well done will probably change over time. Me, I’ve only been in this business about four years. But I’ve started to realize that while audience testimonials, repeat clients and referral business have always been measures of my own success, there IS one common denominator all of us can agree on: making a difference.
A few months ago I gave a speech at an employment conference. Many of the audience members had physical or mental disabilities, some of which had lost the ability to speak. After my speech was over, a man from the front row whose badge read, ‘Hurricane Mike,’ came right up to me a with a huge smile on his face. And even though he could barely put the words together to articulate his point, he placed his hand on my nametag and said, ‘It’s not the nametag; it’s the heart behind it.’
What’s your mark of a job well done?