I dedicated my career to service this January, and I’ve been focused on making that the highest priority and indicator of true success.
To help myself break the “money” focused measurements and goals, I created my own little service-based tracking system.
Rather than track dollars and cents as an indication of how healthy my business was, I tracked the number of times people told me that I had helped them.
Though I knew that this metric was far from an accurate picture of how much service I was really providing, it helped me break the focus on cashflow as a guide for my business decisions.
I believed deep down, that by focusing on helping people one-on-one, on the blog, and at live events, abundance would be a natural byproduct.
However, service tracking was really just another “shiny penny.”
Perhaps a seemingly more enlightened penny? Maybe.
But as I’ve discovered over the past five months, it’s not any more satisfying when used in the wrong way.
You see, I read a passage in Power vs. Force that has stuck with me:
The ladder of success seems to have three main steps:
(1) Initially, it’s what one “has” that counts – that is, status depends upon visible signs of material wealth.
(2) As one progresses, status is afforded by what one “does,” rather than what one has – at this level on the ladder, one’s position and activities bring significant social status, but the attraction of social roles loses glamour as one achieves mastery and matures, for it’s what one has accomplished that is important.
(3) And finally, one is concerned only with what one has “become” as a result of life’s experiences – such people have a charismatic “presence” that is the outer manifestation of the grace of their inner power.
For me, last year was a year I got a lot of the “has” parts in level one. In doing so, I realized that it truly does not mean that happiness and peace abound. So this year I decided to move to level two. I aligned my values with the level that I’m able to contribute.
At first, it was amazing. I found that living from a place of service is deeply satisfying and leads to amazing opportunities and sustained periods of true joy.
But the fact that I remained determined to track the service I was providing started to take it’s toll.
The downside of tracking, anything really, is that it can easily lead to an outward focus on “doing,” rather than the third success level: being.
Regardless of how many people I helped, as I continued to get some element of satisfaction from the number of people that I served, I remained unsatisfied.
I was putting my sense of self-worth on the amount of service I provided.
This became clear to me as I had my biggest “service” week ever, yet I found myself miserable.
My focus went from the selfish desires of level one, to outward service in level two. And in the process I lost my sense of intrinsic worth.
Online myopia crept in.
I always knew that my service tracking was simply a tool to help me break the satisfactions of level one success. But it was not the true answer.
Heck, Gandhi was never going around worrying about tracking how many people he helped each week. He simply lived his message.
So for the past month, I’ve stopped tracking my service. I’ve stopped tracking my income as an indicator of success.
I’m just kinda “floating by” with the intention to serve and listen to my gut.
Though I’d like to say that edging closer towards that level three has felt ammmmmazinggggg (said in Oprah’s intro voice), I’m not sure I can say that honestly.
Sure, it’s been nice to break the cycles of the last two levels. And I’m probably still in the level two “doing” – but without the focus on metrics.
The scary thing about living without metrics, is that there is less for my ego to latch onto as a means to validate my worth and growth as a person or a business owner.
Our society places so much emphasis on tracking and measurable progress that I’m now kinda at a loss.
Which, though uncomfortable, is really a blessing.
This is the deepest lesson to learn. I am not “what I have,” nor “what I do.”
Though I may have paid a lot of lip service to that truism in the past, now I’m staring at it face to face.
I’m learning to just be.