How do you know when you are successful?  How do you know if you are “good” at something?  Are other people better at something than you are?  A “yardstick” helps you answer all of these questions.  Basically a yardstick is a measurement you pick before you start something that tells you if you are achieving the results you want.  Your yardstick must be consistent with your goal.

A yardstick works in both personal and professional lives.  For example, if your goal is to be president of the company, your yardsticks might include being the first one in the office every morning, being the go-to-person for your boss, getting promotions every year, etc.  If your goal is to spend as much time with your family as possible, then your yardstick is when you choose family over other activities.

There are two important things to NOT do.  One, do not apply other people’s yardsticks to your own life.  Other people have defined their goals differently than you.  They have prioritized different aspects of their lives.  Two, do not apply your yardsticks to other people.  What you value does not apply to them.  They have every right to choose their own yardsticks.