I have a favorite new hobby – loosing the extra 10 pounds that writing a book deposited on my mid- section. In another blog, I’ll share all about my successes that have come from reading The 4 Hour Body, by Timothy Ferris, but today I want to talk about how Ferris stresses the importance of measuring to the success of transforming our bodies. It is equally true for inner work.
Since we don’t have a big global event every four years like the Olympics to test our progress, the accomplishments of the persistent work of personal growth might not be so easy to measure. If we can’t measure it in some way, we are likely to become extremely discouraged and frustrated. And when we get frustrated and discouraged, we give up.
My journey of writing a book is my current opportunity to face my own baggage and hopefully lighten the load. Some days I feel like I have moved backward in the process even though I doubt if such a thing is possible. If I had some way to measure my progress, at least I would feel better. If I feel better, I am more likely to continue working which leads to a much higher rate of “success”.
So we have at least two big intangibles to measure – our “feelings” which we can gauge by noticing our sensations, and “success” which we cannot even begin to measure until we at least define it for ourselves.
Let’s start with the question,”What is success …TO ME?” Ask yourself, what would success even look like, feel like, or sound like? Is it completing a book, selling a million copies and becoming an expert in your field? Or is it feeling authentic in your own skin – in any circumstance? Is it not giving a crap about what others think of you, but instead focusing on the leadings of your own heart? Is it feeling free to be you, so that you can free others, who then free others, etc.
Measuring is about incremental steps. No change, whether it is about weight loss or a transformation in our relationship with money happens overnight. So how can we measure success in little steps?
Every morning I wake up and ask what would success look like for me, today? What would make me feel like I had experienced a successful day today? I write these ideas down. This is not a list of goals necessarily, it is more of an awareness of what would make the day feel successful for me. Usually the things that would make me feel like a success are quite simple – feeling energized throughout the day, sharing moments with friends, experiencing a peaceful sufficiency or maybe accomplishing two things on my list.
Write these ideas down. Share them with others. Appreciate successes for your friends too. Create a notebook of “successes”. Include things which feel good – as simple as a stranger smiling at you on the city sidewalk for no good reason or as complicated as getting a book published. Notice the multitudes of successes along the way.
The only way that I know to measure intangibles such as feelings is to pay attention to them. Notice your sensations! If you are new to somatic work, this means the actual sensations in your body, not emotions. Practice morning, noon and night by just taking a 30 second break to notice what your sensations are at that moment. You do not have to do anything with them, just notice. If you are doing serious training, stop every hour to take an internal reading. Keep a journal that records the differences that you are beginning to feel. You do not need to record the sensations themselves, just your level of easy awareness of them.
By developing the practice of noticing our sensations and successes, we begin to realize that indeed we are making significant progress. At the end of each day, ask yourself if you feel successful? Did you experience a day that falls into the success category, by your own personal definition? These small measuring actions will help motivate and direct you as you grow into your own big shoes of magnificence.