I am not a number person. If fact, it’s embarrassing how often I have to use a calculator. I cannot remember statistics. But I am obsessed with them. What’s my number on the scale? What’s my number on my retirement account? What’s my number in relation to my level at work? What’s my number for my last run? How many people liked my last blog post? What’s my number attached to the value of my house? I am not my number – and neither are you.
This past week I worked especially hard at work. I put in some extra time and effort because I’m going for a promotion and I’m feeling inspired. And there are some extra bonuses available so I’m making sure that my clients and team can take advantage of them. After some late nights I was tired. And although I had some great things happen, I also had a few disappointments and became frustrated that I wouldn’t hit my next promotion level. And then I heard a voice in my head say to me, “Becky, you are not your numbers.”
I had learned this lesson when I was 19 years old. I had been selling books door to door in Rockville, MD – a suburb of D.C. And after 86 hours of work that week in six days (I know, we did nothing else!) I was a wreck because of my “units”. Units were how we would measure our success for the week. The more units you sold, the more money you made, and obviously, the better you were. Except that wasn’t the case. My manager had pulled me aside after this particular week and said, “Becky, you aren’t your units. Stopping judging yourself as if you are.”
So this little statement made its way back to me this week. And I thought about all the numbers we attach ourselves to and judge one another for. We are not the car we drive. We are not the expensive home we own. We aren’t the fancy vacations we take. The only numbers that define us are the ones on our tombstones. No one will mention at our funeral how great we were because we made a lot of money. And while we all know this, it’s so easy to get ourselves caught up in it on a daily basis.
I’m still going for the promotion to the next level at work. I’m still looking at the scale and trying to see a smaller number. My husband and I still look at our kids’ college funds and want that number to grow. I’m just going to give myself some space and not attach my self-worth to it. I hope you will join me.
Family photo by Tracy Walsh Photography