Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Copy of Your Benchmarks

“The key to success in any area of life is to first know and master the area of focus.”

– Archibald Marwizi

According to the Collins Dictionary:

benchmark is something whose quality or quantity is known and which can therefore be used as a standard with which other things can be compared.

It is a gauge, yardstick, a measure.”

 We are all familiar with benchmarking in business – measuring the performance of a business against industry best practice.

You then have the ability and information to identify gaps in your business and opportunities for improvement.

You compare yourself to other companies who have superior performance and you break down what makes them better.

By comparing this with your company, you can implement changes that will yield the results you want.

The Importance of Benchmarking

In order to benchmark, you must have quantitative data to study. This means, breaking down processes – every function/department/category and quantify everything.

You measure quality, time, cost, effectiveness and customer satisfaction and the list goes on. You develop KPIs, performance metrics, stats and data.

Once you know your benchmarks, you accurately compare and have evidence of progress and results. Then you can improve processes and procedures, gauge past performance, understand your competition and best practice, increase efficiencies and lower costs making your business more profitable and improve quality and customer satisfaction.

As a business, you need to make the decision about what benchmarks you are aiming for. What is best  – the gold standard?

How Do You Benchmark You?

The concept of benchmarking can also be applied to us personally – what is best practice in the important areas of our lives?

How do we know what we are aiming for and how will we know when we get there?

What evidence do we need of where we started, our progress and our goals?

Knowing our goals gives us guidance as to what we want to achieve.

The benchmarks tell us what is best practice in the journey to achieving our goal as well as the actual goal itself.

Having tangible measurable outcomes means we have certainty – a way to achieve our goals – we can test and measure.

We get immediate feedback of progress and can adjust accordingly.

And benchmarks keep us accountable.

As with business, benchmarks can be applied to any part of our lives – any goals we want to obtain.

It’s not a magic pill though.

Benchmarking does involve comparing to best practice – so to other people.

For some of us, this can be challenging. It’s so much more comfortable staying safely where we are.

But like anything in life, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Benchmarking involves looking outside ourselves to others – how do they achieve the results they have?

What are their performance gaps? What strategies did they run to achieve the success they have – that you want?

Benchmarking provides you the ability to quickly understanding ‘best practice’ for a specific topic or goal.

It may be in relation to fitness, wealth, career, business, cooking, parenting – really all areas of your life.

You do need to know what’s most important to you first, so you can work out where you want to go.

Developing Your Own KPIs

One of the best tools for benchmarking is setting our Key Performance Indicators (KPIs or Key Success Indicators).

KPIs are used extensively in measuring business outcomes, so let’s apply them to us personally.

This will create measurability, accountability and real time feedback, so tweaks and adjustments can be made to the steps being taken.

We’ve looked at our long and short term goals. We know why they matter and how long they will take.

The next step is to benchmark – what’s best practice, gold standard, who has what I want, what are their measures of success? How often am I measuring? What evidence do I  need of progress and achievement of my goal?

The benchmarks need to be run through the SMART goals you have set. Then you can keep track of the relevant data points throughout the process.

So let’s break this down into a practical example of setting our own personal KPIs.

It can be home organisation, family time, wellness (physical and mental), finance, you time, time with friends, learning and education, and the list goes on.

Let’s start with fitness. 

These KPIs are up to you – they are personal and very easy to track. There are apps and devices to help you keep track of your progress. The key to success is knowing your benchmarks for your goals. What’s best practice? What have others done to achieve their result?

We need to start by asking yourself a few questions:

1. What is your desired goal?

2. Why does this goal matter?

3. How long will this goal take?

4. How are you measuring your progress towards the goal?

5. How often are you measuring progress?

6. How will you know when you have reached your goal?

Some goals you can set include a health and fitness goal – this can be broken down into nutrition, exercise, mindset, rest and recreation, just to name a few. Again, there will be benchmarks of excellence that you know you need to meet in order to achieve your results. The exercise category may be broken down to:

  • Distance walked per day or week
  • Steps per day or week
  • Gym sessions per week
  • Swimming or riding sessions per week

Another example – Financial KPIs – setting a budget and sticking to it. Some goals may include:

  • Spending $x less each week
  • Saving $x more in a given month
  • Saving $x by a certain date

Benchmarking you means you need to understand what you want – to be an executive leader in a top 100 company by the age of 40, the detail of the different categories that make up the goal – study, experience, networking, etc, the strategies and steps you need to take, what is best practice, who has what you want and how did they get there? 


The question also becomes, who do you need to be, to do what needs to be done, to achieve the results you want? To actually take the action to know your benchmarks, to take a deep breath and challenge yourself to follow through on your promises to you? What will it cost you if you don’t trust yourself? Not only in this area of your life but all areas? What would it give you if you knew you could trust yourself no matter what challenges came your way?

Bonus Content:

Fears and Imposter Syndrome

We can also develop benchmarks as a result of our fears – those things that hold us back from achieving our full potential.

Common fears include public speaking, networking, confidence, asking for a promotion or raise, career development. We can tell ourselves a story about why we can’t – we don’t feel good enough or worthy.

Imposter syndrome is loosely defined as: “doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud”. It disproportionately affects high-achieving people, who find it difficult to accept their accomplishments. Many question whether they’re deserving of accolades.

Some of the common signs of imposter syndrome include:

  • Self-doubt
  • An inability to realistically assess your competence and skills
  • Attributing your success to external factors
  • Berating your performance
  • Fear that you won’t live up to expectations
  • Overachieving
  • Sabotaging your own success
  • Setting very challenging goals and feeling disappointed when you fall short2

To get past impostor syndrome, you need to start asking yourself some hard questions. They might include things such as the following:

  • “What core beliefs do I hold about myself?”
  • “Do I believe I am worthy of love just as I am?”
  • “Must I be perfect for others to approve of me?”

Perfectionism plays a significant role in impostor syndrome. You might think that there is some perfect “script” for conversations and that you cannot say the wrong thing. You probably have trouble asking for help from others and may procrastinate due to your own high standards.

Feeling like an imposter during our lives is more common than we think. It means we have had success that we are attributing to luck, rather than acknowledging ourselves for our achievements. Turn the feeling into gratitude – be grateful for what you have in life and what you have achieved.

Learn to lean into the feeling of fear. Acknowledge your feelings rather than being scared of them. It is simply your body telling you something. By investing more time in understanding ourselves at our core, we can come to realise that we are driving our own bus. Our successes and failures are down to us – our hard work – our commitment – and feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

And remember, life isn’t about perfection – it isn’t about getting things right all the time. How can we learn and grow if we can’t make mistakes?

And like anything, when we don’t live authentically in alignment with our values, the fear manifests and grows.

Be mindful of your thoughts, don’t compare yourself with others, share and communicate your feelings (connecting with others is a powerful way of overcoming these fears), be realistic about your abilities (do you have gaps?) and keep going. One step at a time. They can be small steps.

You don’t have to go from 0 to a 100 overnight. Remember using the SMART goal technique will set yourself up for success as you develop new goals – small manageable achievable steps. You can then master your new skills and know you can do it on your own – you will then be self motivated and confident with self trust. Be honest and truthful with yourself. 

Your Turn

Let’s do another exercise together.

Download the workbook from the ‘Materials’ tab at the top of this page.

Think of the important areas of your life.

What are your personal KPIs?  What are the benchmarks that you use to measure progress and success?

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