I recently read Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday. Since finishing the book, I continue to come back to one specific topic—living your life by an inner scorecard not an external one.
A person who judges himself based on his own standards doesn’t crave the spotlight the same way as someone who lets applause dictate success.
I began thinking about all of the external scorecards we try to live up to on a daily basis. Most of them are meaningless. The car you drive, the money you have in your bank account, the clothes you wear—they’re all vanity metrics.
Here’s the thing: We all know this. There are countless quotes and books that reiterate this over and over. So, why do we continue to focus on these vanity metrics?
We continue to act on these metrics because we haven’t taken the time to develop our own. We haven’t built out our own internal scorecard so we fallback on those designed by others.
Take a few minutes today and write down what’s really important to you. What really leaves you feeling fulfilled? If you had all the time in the world, what would you spend it on? What characteristics do you want to embody?
Set out the standards, actions, habits, and routines that really matter and then give yourself a grade. Then, pick one to focus on and bring it up to an A+. Ignore everything else.
Need some inspiration? Here are the standards/actions I try to hold myself to.
Standard: Putting my family first and spending time with them.
Next steps: I feel like I’ve made progress in this arena with habits like shutting down at 5pm. I still let work crowd into times that I should be spending with family. I’m continuing to work at this through things like planning an awesome vacation for us next year and more regular dinner dates.
Standard: Continuously learning something new.
Standard: Using my skills as a force multiplier to help others succeed.
Next steps: This relates to my day-to-day work at Automattic. My goal as team lead is to help the members of my team be successful. I’ll write more about this in the future, but I’m still learning a ton and falling down as many times as I succeed here.
Standard: Spending part of my time and energy for social good.
Next steps: I feel really great about the work I’m doing with Drink for Pink this year. I think we’re on the right track to push breast cancer research forward and help develop a better way of thinking about nonprofits in general.
This isn’t all-encompassing. It’s just an effort in figuring out what’s important, determining your own standards so you don’t fallback on those set by others.
Also, writing these down once isn’t good enough. Revisit them every month and find out if you’re making progress.