Despite what we tell everyone, most of us are NOT having a good day.
Let me introduce you to my friend Nichole.
Nichole is a beautiful, accomplished 46-year-old mom and entrepreneur. Yet 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 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 most of my life.
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, book me to speak, 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 to speak 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 (it took place roundabouts 1812, if I recall) or whether you know 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…
Grades can’t measure your 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?
- How many servings of fruits/veggies did I eat? What if all the produce in the fridge is spoiled? What if I have dinner at a friend’s house and the only offering is pizza? What if, gosh darn it, I just don’t feel like eating another stick of celery??
- 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??
- Is my house clean? What if we were traveling and weren’t home to clean it? What if we’re going through a big transition like moving? What if I have three kids and both parents work and sometimes that just means your house looks like a hot mess?
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.
I call them Heart Metrics.
They are based solely on how I feel about myself, which is the only metric any of us should use to evaluate ourselves ever.
My Heart Metrics are:
+ Am I proud of how I showed up?
+ Did I try my best?
+ Did I use my gifts?
+ Did I help others?
+ Did I learn?
The difference between crappy metrics and heart metrics is that heart metrics are internal, flexible, and entirely within my control. I’m in charge of how much pride I take in my work, my level of effort, the use of my God-given talents, whether or not I’m trying to help people, and my personal growth.
I’ve started using my heart metrics regularly, at the end of the day, before and after webinars, after doing virtual speaking gigs, after visiting the dentist. (Just kidding. I’m always confident about my dental patient behavior. I just wanted to make sure you were still reading!)
Basically, I use my Heart Metrics whenever I’m tempted to slip into the crappy metrics and beat myself up for not being “good enough” in some area of my life. (And believe me, this is a daily, often hourly, temptation.)
My Heart Metrics help me focus in on what really matters… showing up, doing my best, and overall, feeling good about myself.
Do I still use the crappy metrics? Of course! But I now know that they are informational metrics and I refer to them as such. Informational metrics are valuable tools to know what’s working in my business and to help me live a healthy and productive lifestyle. But I don’t need them to evaluate my worth as a person. My heart metrics can take care of that.
Because when I look at my Heart Metrics, 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.
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.