Your heart is pounding, you’ve got a knot in your stomach, and you feel like you just bommmmbed your biggest professional opportunity of the year.
Which of the following thoughts are more likely to run through your mind?
“Deep breath, girl. You did your best and learned some new stuff along the way. And that’s what’s most important…even if you made some mistakes.”
“How could you mess it up again?!? Now, you’re never gonna get that big promotion! You might as well just give up on your dreams…they are never going to happen for someone like you.”
If you’re anything like the badass overachievers I work with every day…thought number two sounds a lil’ too familiar for comfort.
In fact, constantly battling that kinda negative self-talk makes you feel like major crap.
Which is why today, I’m sharing one of my favorite tricks to transform self-criticism into self-compassion:
Changing your metrics of self-worth and success.
Why Changing How You Measure Success Will Help You Stop Being Too Critical of Yourself
Now, I know what you may be thinking. “Metrics?!? I use those to track how many sales I’m making at work, or how many agents I’ve reached out to…but what the hell do they have to do with my inner Negative Nancy?”
Actually…a whoooole lot.
When you think about what makes you a successful person, what “metrics” – i.e., measures/indicators of success – do you look at? Is it…
…how many times a week you make it to a 4-am hot yoga class, even when you’d loooove to snooze?
…the number of hours you spend pulling a Rihanna and doing allll the werk, werk, werk?
…always making everyone else around you happy – even if they don’t appreciate you or take advantage of you?
…being an independent badass who don’t need no man (or woman) to make you happy?
None of those things are inherently bad. In fact, we grow up surrounded by people lauding those achievements and saying well-meaning things like, “Always give it your 100%” and “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” and “don’t be dependent on others.”
But as we get older, these guidelines often become strict metrics we use to evaluate our success and our self-worth every single day.
We tell ourselves: “I have to be independent. Productive. Positive (allllll the freakin’ time). Wanted. Strong. Makin’ bank. The absolute best.” The list goes on and on.
And I bet you can guess what happens next…
We fall waaaaay short of those standards.
We tank our presentation. We get dumped by our “dream guy.” After all, we’re only human – and imperfection is part of the package!
But because we’ve set these uuuuber high standards for ourselves and can’t meet ‘em…we feel even shittier about what happened and about ourselves. We decide that we’re not enough – and that we’re not capable or worthy of ever changing that. So we become trapped in self-hate and self-criticism and toooons of anxiety…and we give up on our future dreams and goals.
How to Turn Self-Criticism into Self-Compassion By Changing Your Metrics
So how can you change the metrics you use to measure your personal success and self-worth…AND change your life at the same time?
Just follow the lead of one of my recent clients, Carrie.
As soon as Carrie walked into my office a few weeks ago, I knew she was struggling. Her shoulders were down, her eyes were puffy and it looked like she hadn’t smiled in months.
That’s when Carrie sat down on the sofa, gave a big sigh and said, “I can’t do anything right! I keep screwing up at work and sleeping through my alarm. I wanted to double my sales this month, but I can’t even get into work on time!”
The worst part? When I suggested Carrie slow down and give herself a little TLC, she shook her head, saying: “I don’t deserve that! How can I be kind to myself when I’m screwing up every little thing?!?”
My answer: coming up with a metric of success that was realistic and aligned with what Carrie already valued and believed.
So, I asked Carrie three questions – and these are the same three questions YOU should answer right now if you’re ready to stop being too critical of yourself and want to start living more compassionately.
The Three Metric-Honing Questions You Need to Answer ASAP
Personal Metrics Question #1: “When you’ve reached the end of your life, what do you want people to say about you at your funeral?
Do you want people to be saying that you were perfect? That you always had guys chasing after you and could cinch any business deal?”
You probably want them to say something like: “She was really kind. She was always trying her best. When she made mistakes, she always moved forward and didn’t let them get the best of her.”
In Carrie’s case, she realized that she didn’t even care if she was remembered for her numbers at work. So I asked, “Why beat yourself up for not investing your energy in something you don’t even believe in?”
I saw the start of a small grin on Carrie’s face as she replied, “Why, indeed?”
And when I asked Carrie what she did believe in – what she wanted people to say about her at her funeral – Carrie told me that she wanted to be remembered as an amazing mom. As a good sister. As someone who was always learning new skills every year and had mastered seven different styles of dance.
So we developed a new metric for Carrie. Her metric of success changed from “Did I hit all my sales quotas?” to “Did I work hard to support my loved ones this week?”
And Carrie was already doing a kick-ass job at meeting that metric…so just by making that one tweak, Carrie was able to transform her self-criticism into self-compassion.
And you can do the same by considering what you really want to be remembered for…and coming up with a metric specifically aligned with that quality.
Personal Metrics Question 2: “If you inherited a billion dollars today, what would you do with the money?”
When I asked Carrie this question, she knew her answer right away: “I’d start an animal shelter where my family and I live, because I really care about animals.” So we made a new metric for her. Instead of asking, “How many hours did I put in today at work?”, Carrie would consider, “Did I nourish my passion for animals in some way today?”
Why does that small change make such a HUGE difference? Well, it meant Carrie could feel fulfilled and proud when she did take time to volunteer at the animal shelter or walk her dog instead of feeling guilty for not staying to work overtime at work. And she’d be spending her time doing things that would make her happier, long-term!
Here’s a fun fact, though. Carrie’s answer ain’t uncommon. In fact, when I ask clients this question, I usually get a response like:
- “I’d give a lot of it away to charities or causes I care about.”
- “I’d travel because travel lets me be free and relaxed.”
- “I’d start a business around my passion.”
What do all of those answers – including Carrie’s – have in common? They’re all indicators of positive metrics, or metrics that actually enhance your life when you fulfill them.
So, if you would travel with that extra cash because it makes you feel less stressed, a good metric for you would be, “Did I do something today that made me feel stress-free? Did I do something that let me take a mental vacation?”
Similarly, if you said you’d give the money to charity, you clearly value generosity. So a kickass metric could be: “How was I generous today?”
And if you would invest in your business or passion, STOP judging how well you’re doing by how much money you make or how many hours you sit working a desk job you don’t really like. Instead, measure your success by how much time and energy you’ve invested in your passion that day.
Personal Metrics Question 3: “What is the one moment that was the happiest moment in your life?”
The more we talked, the more Carrie realized her happiest moments always involved mastering a new skill. So she changed her metrics from the number of sales she made to “What new skill did I learn today?”
And within a few months, Carrie realized she wasn’t “sucking” at her job as much as she thought. Sure, she didn’t top the chart in sales…but she WAS learning new things along the way. And for Carrie, that was an even more meaningful win!
Here’s a few more examples of how I’ve worked with people in my tribe to translate their happiest moment into positive metrics:
- A kickass lawyer named Crissy realized she was happiest on “my wedding day, because I was surrounded by the people I love most.” So we created a new metric of: “What did I do today to help foster love and connection?”
- CEO Derrick responded: “The day I graduated college, because I fought really hard to get good grades and make the most of my education, and I felt super proud of my accomplishments.” Derrick’s answer showed that he really valued hard work…so his positive metric became, “What did I do today that is helping me progress in my latest passion?”
- Anna, a super busy mother-of-four, smiled remembering “the day I performed my first improv comedy skit because I was scared to death and didn’t think I could do it, but I summoned the courage to do it anyway!” So we created a metric that would align with her love of being a courageous badass: “What rewarding risk(s) did I take today?”
The Answer to These Three Questions I’ve NEVER Heard…
Here’s a final truth bomb for ya’:
When I ask people to think about their lives in this heart-centered way, I have NEVER heard a single person say…
…”I want everyone at my funeral to say I was perfect ALL the time.”
…”I’d spend a million dollars impressing people I don’t actually respect or deeply care about.”
…”My happiest moments were when I kept showing up to a job I didn’t like.”
…”I wanna be remembered as the person who never let my guard down or let people see the real me.”
…and yet, those are many of the subconscious metrics we’re all still evaluating ourselves with. The same metrics that make us pick ourselves apart and be waaaay too critical because we can never be as perfect and loved and productive and positive as we want.
But that’s the beauty of creating your OWN metrics. Once you start evaluating yourself by metrics that you actually enjoy fulfilling, you can stop trying (and failing) to be “perfect”…and start thriving as YOU!
How to Make Your Personalized Metrics Part of Your Daily Life…
You’re a smart cookie…so I bet you already know what to do. 😉 Start out by asking yourself all three of these questions and collecting your answers. Then, come up with FIVE personalized metrics that actually align with what makes YOU happy and what YOU strive for in life!
Journal about those metrics every night, asking yourself, “How did I show generosity?” or “How did I create mental freedom today?” or “How did I spend time on my passion project today?” And know that by evaluating how you’re doing on metrics that you actually care about, you can show yourself TONS more self-compassion and kindness.
Because you’re focusing on doing things that will actually bring your true joy and fulfillment in life. And instead of focusing on how you are NOT reaching some level of perfection…you’re celebrating every way you’re living out your core values.
My Secret Weapon For Creating Even More Powerful, Personalized Metrics
Now, I know that answering these three questions and coming up with metrics that connect to you is waaaay easier said than done. Carrie saw HUGE progress in her stress and happiness levels as soon as she changed up how she judged personal “success,” but we spent a good couple sessions getting into the down and dirty of what made her tick.
So if you need some extra help figuring out what beliefs and values really set your soul on fire…check out my Personal Happiness Formula workbook. It’s packed with seven additional questions and exercises that will help you dive even deeper into how you should evaluate your success and life. Plus, you’ll learn how to re-design your life so that it reflects the metrics you want to fulfill! To learn more or start discussing more of your core values today, click here.
What I Hope Anyone Struggling with Self-Criticism Knows About Metrics
If you look up the word “metrics” in the dictionary, it’s defined as a method of measuring something.
But here’s the thing. Measuring how well you are doing in life is waaaay more complicated than tracking your profit at work or the weight you’re losing in X-number of weeks. You are a complicated, perfectly imperfect, living, breathing, adapting, changing human being…and the way you measure your own success and worth in life needs to be just as nuanced.
So what are you waiting for? Throw out society’s rulebook…and start making your own today.
What metrics will you measure your success with, starting today? Tell me in the comments!