Despite what we tell everyone, most of us are not having a good day.
Now, before you disagree with me, let me introduce you to my friend Nichole.
Nichole is a beautiful, accomplished 46-year-old mom and entrepreneur. Yet the other day she told me that she goes to bed every night feeling like a failure.
“I can never finish everything,” she said. “No matter what I do, there’s always more. And I drop into bed every night feeling like I haven’t done enough, like I’ve failed.”
That hurt. Mostly because I can 100% relate.
As often happens, when we hear someone else verbalize our innermost conflict, we suddenly recognize our problem in them, and things become clearer and sometimes, if we’re really lucky, we can see a solution.
What I saw in Nichole was a woman who is judging herself very harshly. Who’s equating her worth (an internal, can’t-take-away quality) with her accomplishments (an external, constantly moving, changing, and unpredictable target).
No wonder she feels like a failure! She’s judging herself by metrics she can’t control. I call these “crappy metrics.”
And I think most of us are using them. All of the time.
Let’s take a look at some of the “crappy metrics” I’ve used to evaluate myself throughout my life.
- Did I get an A?
- Were people nice to me?
- Did I get invited to that party/event/happy hour/board position?
- Did someone notice/thank/acknowledge/praise me for what I did?
- Did I make X amount of dollars or sign X amount of clients?
- Do I have X number of followers on social media?
- Did I workout for X number of minutes?
- Did I track my food or eat X number of servings of fruits/veg?
- Did I complete all the tasks on my to-do list?
- Did I complete all the laundry according to the color-coded laundry chart I made?
- Is the house clean?
And on and on… these are the ways I’ve learned to judge whether or not I’ve had a “good day” and it’s pretty much been this way for as much of my life as I can remember.
But here’s the problem… these are crappy metrics. Why? Because…
Most of them are factors I can’t control, such as:
- How people choose to treat me
- What grade a teacher gives me
- Whether or not people choose to sign up for my programs or follow me on social media
- How much money someone pays me
Uncontrollable metrics SUCK. Because basically, you’re judging yourself by a yardstick you don’t wield. How could I possibly assess myself on how others treat me? What if my co-worker is going through a personal crisis that results in her being short with me or I’m stuck in traffic with road ragers or I happen to get into the grocery line of the one cashier at Kroger who has a personal vendetta against the entire grocery store establishment and decides that 10:15am on Saturday while she bags my milk is the moment to let it all out?
Basing my worth on how others treat me is a crappy metric.
Ditto to whether or not people sign up for my programs. Yes, I can send heartfelt emails and do marketing and Facebook advertising and a million live videos talking all about how amazing these programs are (they are!) but at the end of the day, the choice to buy is out of my control.
Basing my worth on how many people join a class or book me for coaching is a crappy metric.
As a former teacher it shocks me a bit to say this, but I must admit… grades are also a crappy metric. Sure, they might tell you how much you know about the War of 1812 (ummm… it took place around 1812, right? Or thereabouts?) or whether you have any idea where a comma goes on a bibliography page (I’d have to Google it) but none of this tells you your WORTH. Grades are information. Valuable information, perhaps. I mean, somebody has to keep making those History Channel documentaries about wars and we’d certainly hope they have their facts straight.
But grades are a terrible metric of your worth because they can’t measure internal value. They measure outputs.
Those are two very different things.
And even if the metrics appear to be in my control, they don’t allow for much flexibility, which ya know, is kind of important in this thing called life where the only constant is change.
Inflexible (aka crappy) metrics include:
- How many minutes did I work out? (What if one of my kids was sick the night before and I skipped the workout in favor of sleep? What if there was a power outage at the gym? What if a friend called in crisis right before I was supposed to leave for that yoga class?)
- Did I complete all the tasks on my to-do list? (What if my to-do list was too long? What if something more important came up and suddenly “Clip the cat’s nails” was no longer as urgent as “Put out grease fire”? What if… heaven forbid, all the things on my to-do list aren’t even that necessary to do?)
So when I heard Nichole talking about her struggle to put her head on her pillow at night and feel good about her day, I realized that she–like me–has been using crappy metrics to evaluate herself. Thus, she–like me–struggles to have a “good day” because her metrics for “good” are well, kinda crappy.
So I’ve decided to create some different metrics, ones that are entirely within my control and allow for the flexibility needed to live within this ever-changing state called life.
There are just four.
Rose’s Good Day Metrics:
Was I kind to myself?
Did I treat my body well?
Did I make time for meaningful work?
Did I make time for meaningful relationships?
I know what you’re thinking. Sure, those sound great… but how are you going to actually get all your stuff done? That’s a great question. And the answer is… I probably won’t get all my stuff done. As a matter of fact, that’s kind of the point because trying to “get all my stuff done” my whole life has resulted in a lot of anxiety and generally feeling bad about myself and thinking I’m a failure, so I think trying to “get all my stuff done” is another metric I’m throwing in the crap-can.
Because when I look at these four real and true metrics, I I can’t imagine laying my head down on my pillow at night, after having said YES to each of those, and feeling like I didn’t have a damn good day.
I’m going to explore using these “Good Day Metrics” over the next few weeks. I’ll be sure to report back and tell you how it goes, but before I do that, I’m truly curious…
What metrics do YOU use to determine whether or not you’ve had a good day? I’d love for you to email me personally at [email protected] and let me know.
To have truly GOOD days,
PS Would you having a good day meaning having a simplified life with less stuff and less stress? If so, check out my Minimalism Starter Guide to get you moving toward a decluttered, simplified lifestyle!