Years ago, in a travel bookstore, I picked up a copy of a memoir called The Camel Knows the Way . It was about a woman traveling through India, and I felt immediately called to the picture on the front; always choose a book by the cover! What I didn’t know was this woman’s life changed through a chance meeting with Mother Theresa in Calcutta, and she devoted years of her life to service in the monastery there. The book chronicled what it was like to see Mother Theresa in action. I’d never much thought about Mother Theresa up to that point. From that point forward, she became a beacon for me, someone I’ve continually returned to for guidance on a life well lived.
Particularly, I was drawn to the way she would drop anything at all to help a person in her path in need. Her mission statement was simple, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person in front of you.”
I wrote that down and eventually made it the mission statement of our studio. Let me tell you, in the ensuing months, I have spent many days worried about numbers! Are we reaching enough people? Am I spending too much? Charging enough? Paying my taxes correctly? How many hours a week should I be here? How many classes should we host each day?
Ultimately, the balance I’m trying to strike is: how do I think about numbers without worrying about numbers? You’re a human living in the modern world. You are trying to strike this same balance. Of course we have to think about numbers like those on the clock, on our receipts, in our retirement accounts, and on our gas gage. But, if we let those numbers define our state of mind, we will choose a fast and extreme reaction rather than slow and measured one. We will be more competitive and far less giving. And, most dangerously , we will forget our priorities. Numbers are never the priority. At the end of the day, l ife is about people and the relationships you have with them. * This cannot be measured in a number.