Anyone else have a serious love / hate relationship with numbers?
I mean, when things are in my favor, they make me feel great about myself! More followers? Yes please. More money? Heck yeah! Good grade on an assignment? Booya.
But more often than not…they aren’t in my favor. Or…at least that’s how my perspective twists it to be. I see a number and all I see is how I’ve fallen short of where I want to be. I see how I’m not good enough.
The Problem With Numbers
Numbers are an objective measurement of whatever it is we are aiming toward. There are no feelings or opinions attached to solely the number, but the problem comes when we take that number and subjectively interpret it. We take that number and make it mean something about our worth or our potential.
Numbers are the most traditional way we know to define our success. But right now, in the time of Coronavirus, measuring my success by numbers has just not felt good. It has not helped me feel successful or as though I am doing “enough.” I believe that, especially right now, we need to find a new way to define our success if we want to maximize not only our potential but our progress.
None of us have lived through a global pandemic before. We don’t know how it affects us and for many of us, we have had to adapt and pivot like crazy just to keep moving. Numbers can be a helpful measuring tool for success and growth, but there is a time when I think we need to change our metric.
When To Let Go of Numbers
You know when you’re going after a goal and you have a number in mind of what you want to achieve – maybe it’s an A on an assignment, or a mile you want to run to, or a number on the scale – and you don’t quite get there…and then you feel like all the work you DID accomplish doesn’t mean anything at all or wasn’t worth it because you didn’t hit THAT number?!
Yeah…that’s when you let the numbers go.
If by seeing a number on the scale tells you that you are a failure? Let it go. If by comparing your number of followers on Instagram to another’s makes you feel like you are less important? Let it go. If your income has taken a hit and is lower than it once was and that makes you feel like you aren’t good enough anymore? Let it go.
You get what I mean here right?
Do not let some digits on a screen tell you who you are going to become and how much you’re worth.
Your salary doesn’t define you. Numbers on a scale don’t define you. Social media following definitely doesn’t define you.
Reframe Your Mindset
By having that measuring stick of a number that you didn’t meet, sometimes we are so hard on ourselves that we forget to celebrate how far we HAVE come! We forget to take time to be thankful and proud of all that we have accomplished so far. I want to feel like I am successful in whatever I am working toward because in everything I do, whether I hit my numerical goal or not, I’m learning. I’m growing. I’m changing.
It’s no longer, I’m not good enough because I didn’t hit my goal. It’s Look at how far I’ve come and how much I’m growing in this process.
Here are some reflection questions to help you let go of the numerical pressure and reflect on your progress toward your latest goal:
- What am I most proud of myself for?
- What did I learn about myself / the process that might be able to help me in the future?
- How am I changing in this process?
- Who can I share this progress with that will help cheer me on?
Take some time to be proud of yourself for the work you’re doing and how, no matter what the numbers say, you are growing.
Once we make the decision to let go of using numbers as a way to measure our worth, we have the opportunity to replace it with a new definition or standard of success.
So success, for you, no longer means how many items you checked off your to-do list. It no longer means how much money is in your bank account. It no longer means how many words you typed.
Let me give you a few examples of what it could look like to get you started, then I want you to take the time to redefine success in your own life.
- I am successful when I honor my needs.
- I am successful when I listen to my feelings and learn from them.
- I am successful as I continue to adapt to the changing circumstances around me.
- I am successful when I believe in myself.
- I am successful when I love myself no matter what an objective number says.
- I am successful when I live in alignment with my values.
The more you rebuild what success in your life means to you and the more it can come from within, you will see your confidence grow. You will see your bravery grow because you aren’t afraid of what a number is going to tell you.
Let go of the numbers. Redefine what success looks like to you. Focus on your learning and growing. And get to believing in all the endless potential inside of you.