When scales don’t tell the truth- how do you judge success?

I’m graduating from the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs E-series program soon and the other day I tried on a dress that I want to wear to the party.  I was trying it on because it was too big and I needed to have it measured to take in.

That was my first shocker.  It fit.  Well.

My second shocker was that I’d just lost a couple of pounds and was back to my regular size.  Or so the scale said.

Here’s the deal, in the last three months I volunteered 6 days a week doing 12 hour shifts while the Olympics were on. Then I promptly got sick.  Then I hurt my back.  Then I went to Brazil for three weeks where it hit 28 degrees Celsius ….. by 8 am.

Let’s just say that exercise hasn’t been a regular part of my vocabulary for some three months now.

Not surprisingly I put on a couple of pounds, which in the last few weeks, back at regular exercise, I’m happy to say I’ve shed.

So why did the dress fit if I’m at my regular weight?

After the shock wore off I figured it out.

While I’ve been exercising diligently, I’ve only been doing aerobic type exercises (climbing hills, running, vigorous walking).  What I hadn’t been doing is any strength training (crunches, planks, push ups etc) or stretching.

So while I’m the same weight I’m not the same size.

The number on the scale is only one indicator.  It’s the same thing with your indicators of work success.

What do you judge success by?  Do you have a complete picture or are you slaving away to narrowly one defined indicator, let’s say money for example?  Is what you earn your only indicator?  This is the premise of Tim Ferris’ book the Four Hour Work Week where he talks about not postponing your life and waiting until you retire to enjoy what you really love to do.

I judge my work success by three things:

  • do I feel fulfilled, happy and energized about my work?
  • do I feel like I’m making a contribution?
  • am I making enough cash to sustain the kind of lifestyle I want?

Don’t get locked into a narrow definition of success.  It probably won’t fit, like my dress.

It took me reanalyzing my definition of exercise to realize I’d forgotten 2/3rds of the equation (strength and stretching).  Which reminds me, I have a yoga class to go to.


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2 Responses to “When scales don’t tell the truth- how do you judge success?”

  1. Kerri Says:
    April 17th, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Well said Lee-Anne! I love thinking about the way success *feels* to me, and then making more of that feeling happen.

  2. Lee-Anne Ragan Says:
    April 18th, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Thanks Kerri. You could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather when the dress fit. I like the notion of custom designing my definition of success, including how I want to feel. Good friend (actually she’s a great friend) Danielle LaPorte talks about this in her blog posts plan to feel and guilty desires unite.

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