A book that I have at work and fish out every so often and read snippets from, and which has made a significant impact on me, (in conjunction with attending one of his amazing lectures on how to be a successfully busy person) is 'The Heart of Success' by Rob Parsons - one of the most humble, but successful, people I have come across. Depends on your definition of success of course.........
If I had to point to the things that I consider to be 'real' successes in my professional life - the things that I remember instantly, without having to dredge my memory at length to find them - they are often small and rather insignificant. Here are a few:
- working alongside someone and making a difference to them, and to their workflows
- really useful conversations with academics when making a cup of tea, or by the photocopier
- shelving books when it's not in my job description, but I can call anyone on it because it is a strategic activity (staff management, collection management, space management, I could go on)
- making time as often as possible for a 30 minute walk at lunchtime
- meeting close professional friends for regular sanity checks
- taking the time to visit a contact where they work and knowing how useful that was to both of us
Ultimately of course as I consider that in the foreseeable future I can happily give up work and devote myself to other (important) things, you realise that success at work is probably overrated (it's dead nice to have it while you're there, don't get me wrong).Trite though it may seem, 'you can't take it with you'! And chances are the minute you leave work the next person in will change a lot of what you have done.
So bottom line - what's success about? I would probably say that it's about making 'work', work for you, it's about being confident of your skills and using them to help the people who most need it, and it's being confident that little tiny successes are sufficient! We don't need to conquer the world, just try and do our best.