Are we seeing a New Normal?

By: Scott Stein, VP of Client Services, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

I recently came across the results of a new poll that concluded that, since the economic downturn in 2008, Americans are redefining what success looks like.

The survey found that eight of 10 Americans indicate that the recession has forced them to change the way they look at life. “Economic status and all the creature comforts it brings are less important in the New Normal,” said Ashley McCown, president of Solomon McCown & Company, which conducted the survey with Anderson Robbins Research.

The survey results also show that 24 percent of the respondents reported that their household had “mostly recovered” from the impact of the recession; 41 percent said they “still have a ways to go;” and 14 percent thought they “might not ever fully recover.”

It should be obvious that everyone looks at success in different ways. Given the salaries and contracts we hear about for professional athletes and others in the entertainment field, it’s easy to equate success with monetary wealth. But monetary wealth is certainly just one way to look at success.

The McCown survey found that 74 percent of the respondents feel they have achieved or are on the way to reaching the American Dream. 83 percent say a happy marriage is part of the equation, while 77 percent cite a long and healthy retirement. 67 percent in the survey say that helping through volunteering or charity is part of achieving the American Dream, with the same percentage saying that owning a home is a factor.

There are probably many people who think like I do that work and family are the key ingredients. Even without all of the creature comforts I’d like, having a tremendous family and being respected in my field of work are the measures of success most dear to me.

What do you think? Has the way you measure success changed with the recent economy?