As a society, we are obsessed with numbers. We want to measure everything and have metrics in place. It all boils down to the numbers.
- To check if a business is successful, you look at the numbers – financials .
- To check if you are healthy, the doctors check your numbers in the form of your weight, your height, your heart rate, iron count and other numbers as well.
- To check if you are doing well in your career, one of the first points of consideration is again a number – your salary number and/or bonus figure.
- Your house value is a number
- Your bank balance is a number
- and the list goes on..
I am not discrediting this number based system and society we have built. In fact, it is necessary for us. It helps us get a sense of where we are, how we can tweak things, if we need to even tweak things and the like.
My only frustration with this number based society is people forget about what is beyond the numbers.
Take for example, one of my pet peeves – when people talk about losing weight. Yes, excess weight is not healthy. But the problem arises when people’s focus bordering on obsession, is to get to a certain weight. They may indulge in crash diets or extreme forms of fitness routines or other mechanisms to get to that number. The focus should be on good health instead! An average weight number for a certain height is a guideline for us to be healthy. A 0 waist size though is not what matters to good health (atleast for most people)!
So how does this matter to our professional lives?
By not focusing on the numbers, but on the health of your professional life and career.
Yes, your salary matters, your bonus matters, your stock options matter, your performance review number matters! It matters just enough to function as a guidepost and indicator.
But it is not your end goal – your career fulfillment is. How you feel in your career on a regular basis is what matters. If you are hurting mentally and/or physically from a certain professional role, it may be time to rethink if that job is the right thing for you.
For most people the feeling of inadequacy comes from focussing on these numbers! We tend to want to be at a certain number especially in the case of weight or salary. If we are not, we feel inadequate, dissatisfied and disgruntled.
If you are a few pounds of your ideal weight, but you feel great and energetic, do not have any other health problems, it may not be worth your while obsessing about those few extra pounds.
If you are not at a certain desired salary number, you may feel unhappy and disgruntled going in to work. You are scouting for opportunities based on the number instead of what the number can do for you!
The pursuit of numbers based growth is the wrong approach to career fulfillment and happiness.
Reflect on the goals you have set for yourself this year. Are they numbers based? If so, it is time to revisit and recalibrate them to reflect what truly matters in life – your happiness!