The Measure of a Successful Day

What’s the measure of a successful day?

As we approach the one-year mark of this pandemic, we’ve all settled into our new routine. No matter how stable that routine is, most of us have come to the conclusion that we can’t measure productivity by the same yardstick as before.

Of course, it all depends on your personal situation. But I suspect that for many, our time, schedules, outside obligations and  overall sense of “I got this-ness” continue to vacillate day to day and week to week in this crazy life we’re living.

I realized a few months back that I need a new measure for my days. Not output, not hours worked, not even the metrics I’m shooting for in my annual goals.

Those are important, to be sure. But more important is, each and every day, to do (at least) one brave thing.

Brave is:

Writing something

Creating something

Supporting someone

Listening deeply

Accepting something new you’ve learned about yourself.

Letting go of an assumption, or a prejudice

Taking a risk

Pushing your limits

Not running away from discomfort.


One brave thing, each and every day.

No matter the pulls on our time, our attention, our attitude, our mindset, we always have the space for that. And acts of bravery have a way of adding up.


Last week, my wonderful four-year-old daughter had minor surgery to have her adenoids removed.  In the hospital she heard lots of encouraging words from Mommy and Daddy and from the doctors and nurses. The surgery went really well and she was a champion through it all.

The following morning, as I walked into the kitchen she looked up at me with a big smile and said, “Daddy, I was really brave when I went to the hospital.”

“Yes, sweetheart,” I said, smiling back,“you were.”

“Daddy,” she continued, looking me straight in the eyes. “What does brave mean?”

What a sweetheart, and how wonderful it is to be a child where the world is full of questions to be asked.

In this moment she reminded me how often grown-ups will listen to the words we say and keep quiet if they don’t understand what we really mean.

It’s our job, not theirs, to fix this.