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What are leading indicators of success in your life?

Leading indicators

As Eminem so politely tells us, you have one shot, one opportunity. And I hate to break it to you, but you’ve just blown yours. Moms spaghetti.

You might think that it was just an off day, you just weren’t quite good enough for that final stage interview, or to resist that drink, to win that new big customer contract, to get picked for the team, to be made best man/bridesmaid. You name it. Those big wins in life we hope to achieve and those failures we try to avoid, it’s inevitable we will experience some of them. But why do some people succeed more than they fail?

Could it be because they operate their lives in accordance with the leading indicators of success? 

What are leading indicators?

Leading indicators of success are measurable factors that provide insights into the future performance or achievement of a particular goal or objective. Leading indicators help organisations and individuals anticipate and take proactive steps to improve outcomes. VERY businessy talk I know. But stick with me.

What are some examples of leading indicators in your life?

  1. How much exercise you do, how healthy your diet is and how well you are able to sleep are all leading indicators of health, long-term well being
  2. How well you are able to save and earn money each month will be a leading indicator of your savings, investments and freedom for the future

  3. How much time and energy you put into your relationships will be a leading indicator of the quality and depth of your relationships in years to come

What are the lagging indicators? 

Lagging indicators happen after the fact, they are simply a reflection of the leading indicators. Did you make the team, get the promotion, or finish the degree? They are the milestones, successes or perhaps failures. It's important to keep in mind that while lagging indicators are informative, they provide insight into the past rather than helping you actively shape your future.

They are helpful in evaluating the outcomes of your behaviours over time to assess to progress. If they are the only measurement though we may often miss the target and not be able to diagnose why. 

Lagging indicators vs leading indicators

How can you avoid measuring lagging indicators of success?

Lagging indicators vs leading indicators is a balance that is important to strike. Understanding that your success or failure often is determined by leading indicators can be a big step in your own self-development. 

For example, as mentioned above an alcoholic failing to resist a drink, a good one as any vice or addiction can be inserted instead. 

Did they drink and break their sobriety because of a momentary lapse of willpower or did some external event trigger causing them to turn to their old friend to escape the pain?

Possibly, or perhaps it was down to a series of leading indicators of risk. 

In the weeks before everything on the surface was not bad leading up to the moment of relapse. 

Not thinking it was much of a big deal in isolation thanks to a busy schedule and a sense of feeling on top of things the last couple of therapy sessions or group meetings had been missed. 

Because they were busy and felt like they still needed the time to themselves in the evening to unwind their sleep had reduced down to around 6.5 hours per night.

The same busy schedule, late nights and shitty weather had piled on the excuses to cut down on the exercise and because their pen was out of ink the journaling had fallen by the wayside. 

These all may seem like relatively insignificant small parts of the day, if you were their close friend or loved one you might not have even noticed any of those habits had changed in the last few weeks. 

However when it comes to leading indicators and in life generally the little things are the big things. 

Your success in getting out of bed in the morning isn’t made by your willpower in the morning but by your ability to consistently go to bed at a sensible time that allows for enough sleep. 

Your single drink when you are struggling with alcoholism is in fact its own leading indicator, you’re not in crisis with serious health concerns (lagging indicator) during or right after a singular drink. However, after going down a well-trodden and somewhat predictable path, you may well be. 

To avoid the leading indicators of failure turn to the leading indicators of success. 

How can the leading indicators help me?

Knowing this you can be clear on the power your consistency will have; the power of consistent routines will give you a competitive advantage in your own life. 

Just look for the outcome you want to achieve and then reverse engineer it. You want deeper and more meaningful friendships. Ask yourself what are the consistent actions you can take to help nurture them. 

If you want to take better care of yourself, ask what routines and daily habits would move you in the right direction.

“If your choices are beautiful, so too will you be.” –Epictetus.

The amazing thing about the leading indicators is that they are predictors of the future. You can use them to course correct so you land where you desire.

We highly recommend writing down the answers to the following questions and keeping track of your progress in your journals, notebooks, phone’s notes section, or whatever floats your boat.

Journal prompts

  1. What successful outcomes do I want in each major area of my life? (Health, wealth, relationships and freedom)
  2. What are the leading indicators of success for these outcomes?
  3. What are the leading indicators of failure for these outcomes?
  4. How can I create habits and routines for success?
  5. How can I track these habits? If you want a structure, we have you covered with The Evolve Journal.

You can use them to create non-negotiables that then become the winning lottery ticket, all you need to do is follow the process and you’re probability of winning is astounding. 

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