I think we are programmed to define ourselves by a number.
It started with the number on your tests and papers in grade school and grew to the number of awards that had your name inscribed on them.
It’s the number that flashes up at you on the scale, the number on your pant size, the number of miles you logged in your running shoes or on the bike, and the number of calories your fitness watch says you burned in a day.
It’s the number of likes you get on Instagram, the number of Facebook friends you have, and the number of views you get on your blog or shop page.
It’s the number of events you have marked down in your Happy Balance Planner or the number of items you checked off your todo list.
It’s the number of sales you made last month, your hourly rate or the salary that is supposed to quantify your true value and worth.
Bottom Line: It’s just that…A NUMBER!
If it’s just a number though, why do we place so much value in it? What is it about a number that can make you feel less than or not enough?
I’ve had two moments in the past month that have forced to me to stop in my own tracks and ask myself this very question.
The first was after a trip to the doctor and a step on the scale. After growing up in a Fine Arts High School and dancing my toes off 5 hours a day, 6 days a week, I learned to say goodbye to the scale immediately after graduation. However, I still dread stepping on the scale at a doctor’s visit no matter how great I feel when I slip my pants on in the morning. This particular morning I had a cute little pencil skirt on (can you get any more uncomfortable than that??) but felt great in my own skin. I stepped on the scale an hour later and I was 5 pounds heavier than I was 6 months ago. Game over!
Even knowing that my workouts and strength training nearly doubled during that time and despite my doctor telling me it was absolutely all muscle, I couldn’t shake that five pounds. That five pounds just sat on my shoulder for a week. It flashed in front of me every time I grabbed a sweet or every time I missed a workout. It replaced all feelings of strength with feelings of being less than my best self.
The second incident was my never ending battle with Instagram. I’m sure you’ve heard or experienced it before, especially if you’re a small business owner: post great photo, post at a time that is usually a golden hour for you, and crickets! Some algorithm or ghost block or whatever other magic powers Instagram has results in minimal interaction compared to your normal posting routine. For me, this resulted in my ranting to Jor about how ridiculous those algorithms are and me staying off of social media for an entire day because you know, that would fix it!
What is the TRUE VALUE behind these numbers?
Coming from a science background I absolutely understand the power in quantifying things. Numbers seem concrete and allow you to justify actions, decisions and purchases. Numbers define goals, set boundaries and provide timelines to measure progress.
But numbers also allow you to compare! They are a way to standardize between groups, people, etc. and allow you to make “objective” judgments over what is good and what is bad…what is better…what is best.
But what if you defined yourself by a FEELING rather than a number?
Instead of allowing numbers to dominate your direction, your path and your assessment of whether you are doing right/wrong or good/bad why not let a feeling fuel your decisions and perceptions?
- Rather than letting the number on the scale dictate whether you are “in shape”, let how you FEEL in your own skin dominate the conversation.
- Rather than logging miles to hit a calorie goal, let your feet hit the pavement because it makes you FEEL strong and energized, allowing you to give to and uplift those you love.
- Rather than defining your worth by the number of likes or number of friends listed on social media, let how you FEEL when you step fully into your genuine, unique self define your true value.
- Rather than marking your success by a specific number of sales or the number on your paycheck, define your success by how you FEEL cultivating the meaningful relationships you have in your life and your ability to love well…to love fully!
- Rather than defining progress by the number of checks on your todo list, measure your progress by how you FEEL passion, drive and joy, knowing you are pouring yourself into your true purpose.
Starting today, give yourself permission to let go of the numbers!
Move the numbers out of the director’s chair and replace them with feelings. Even with the numbers, you can hit them all day long but if you don’t feel joy, if you don’t feel empowered, if you don’t feel genuine happiness what use are the numbers? Aim to hit a feeling rather than a number. Aim to reach the highest feeling of being your fullest, best self and forget about hitting the highest number.
Starting today, sit in the place of believing that You Are Enough!
You are enough to your nearest and dearest. You are enough to the work you pour your time and heart into. You are enough to the goals and dreams you chase fiercely. You are enough for YOU! It might look different from day to day, from season to season and that’s ok. Just keep showing up, keep taking steps forward and keep trusting that you, exactly as you are right now, are enough!
Let that FEELING define your day, your worth, your success…YOU!