254: Using Metrics as False Gods | Tanya Dalton Skip to the content
Tanya Dalton quote on business metrics
January 18, 2022   |   Episode #:

254: Using Metrics as False Gods

In This Episode:

Our measurement of success usually comes in the form of numbers. We track how well we are doing based on what those numbers tell us. But how do you decide which numbers to track? The hard truth is that most of us have spent a lot of time tracking numbers that take us out of alignment with our true definition of success.

In today’s episode we’ll talk about vanity metrics, I’ll pull back the curtain on the truth behind most of those impressive numbers we see online and I’ll share how you can create your own scorecard for success.

Show Transcript:

The Big Idea

We need to look at the real numbers, not the vanity numbers.

Questions I Answer

  • What numbers do I need to focus on for my business?
  • How do I figure out which numbers are important to track?
  • What happens when you get a blue checkmark on Instagram or Facebook?
  • What metrics can improve my mental state?

Key Moments in the Show

[01:24 ] How we use metrics to define success in the wrong way

[05:31] How I teach clients to define success on their own terms & decide their metrics

[07:44] How vanity metrics can get us off track

[09:04] The truth behind NYT Bestseller and other impressive accolades

[13:29] How Instagram influencers achieve high number of followers

[15:38] 7 and 8 figure businesses that don’t even turn a profit

[19:10] How you can ask me questions and connect with me personally

[21:29]  A simple activity to decide which metrics you want to track

[25:54] How to track metrics to improve your emotional and mental state

Show Transcript

Hello, Hello and welcome to the Intentional advantage podcast. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton. This is episode 254. We are well on our way. Getting close to rounding out and closing out our season, talking about living on purpose, you know, a while back, I guess it was in November. I traveled to Arizona to go to iconic with Allie brown.

And while I was there, I love going to these kinds of events where you get to network and chat and talk and just dive deep with other women and really talk about the things that are really important. One of the things that we talked about at iconic Allie put up this slide and it said, are you using metrics as false gods? Oh, I loved that.

It really got me thinking, because I do think so often we’re using numbers. We use metrics as this way of measuring ourselves. We put them up on this. Altar is as if it’s the most important thing, you know, and one of the things that was said and iconic is, you know, we, we used to, we used to worry about being burned at the stake.

Now we worry about losing followers. W we’ve lost sight of what’s really important because we’re so caught up in the metrics and the numbers. And really when we think about it, metrics are a measurement of success. And in the book, in on purpose, we talk about this idea of redefining success and why success is so hard to achieve because we don’t take time to truly define it.

We look around, we look left, we look right. We look always swivel our head and 360 degrees looking around to try to figure out if we’re doing the right thing. And instead of saying, this is what I want. This is what I desire. This is what I believe is success. We measure ourselves compared to everybody else, and this is where the metrics come into play because we are measuring ourselves compared to everybody else.

How am I doing? What’s my follower. Count? How many, you know, how much revenue am I making? What are the numbers that I have? This is the thing is our brain loves numbers. It loves numbers. And it’s a great way to truly compare, how am I doing? And if your measurement for success is how am I doing compared to everybody else instead of how am I doing in my own life with my own goals,

with my own vision, with my own priorities, we’re not really staying in alignment. This is why we get so off track. We get so caught up in the numbers, but I mean, our brain, our loves numbers. There’s a whole reason why games and social media showcase numbers. I mean, it generates competition exactly what we’re talking about here with these measurements of success.

That’s what it is. It’s this competition, not how am I doing, but how am I doing compared to everybody else? And that’s when competition is no longer healthy. And this game of education is big. We see it everywhere because our brain loves numbers. It loves to see how we’re doing. I actually use gamification in my courses and in my programs because it’s proven to help people want to stay and complete,

which is really my big goal. Whenever I’m working with people is not to get people in the door, but to get them to work through the program, to work through the process, to do the work. So I use gamification because it’s scientifically proven to encourage you and gave a vacation can be good. It can be used for good, like how I’m using it in my courses,

or it can be used to suck you into social media, to suck you into, you know, doing the things you don’t really want to do, because you’re worried about how you stack up. And that’s what I want you to think about today. I want you to think about how are you using your metrics? What metrics are you using to measure your success?

One of the things that I do when I’m working with people is we start by figuring out what is success to you? And we don’t start with the metrics. We don’t start with the numbers, the revenue numbers we start with. What does that lifestyle look like when we think about those six pillars of you, which we’ve talked about here on the podcast before,

what is your life look like? What is your life look like with your relationships? Where are you living? What’s your lifestyle? What are you doing with your body, physically, all of those parts. And then we work backwards to figure out the metrics, okay? Now, if this is what you want your life to look like in a year,

five years, 10 years, 20 years down the road, let’s back that up and let’s figure out, all right, these are the metrics we need. This is the revenue we need. This is what we need to be doing. This is the products we need to have, right? All of those things. But what happens is a lot of times when we’re not really intentional with these metrics is they take us off track.

They don’t lead to the success. That’s truly meaningful to us. It leads us down this whole other path. You know, I started my business to break the rules, to live a lifestyle on my own terms. But then I started playing by new rules. I started playing by the rules that I needed to have more followers on social media, which is one of the reasons why I realized that metric was not important to me.

It really wasn’t when I, when I sat down and I mapped out what success looks like for me, five years down the road, 10 years down the road, social media, wasn’t part of that, how many followers I had or whether I was an influencer on Instagram, which is part of the reason why I made that very intentional decision to get off of social media.

I also found that most of my listeners and most of my followers, most of the people who want to work with me, weren’t really connecting with me there. They were connecting me with me on other ways, especially on this podcast. And I wanted to dedicate more of my time and energy here onto the podcast onto doing different things, which we’re actually going to talk about during the mid episode break some of these new and exciting things that would be more meaningful,

but we get caught up in how many followers we have. How, how big are our following is the number of team members. We have the, the things that look good to everybody else, these vanity metrics, having these giant live events or spending a lot of money on Facebook ads or any of those things that look good, these vanity metrics, they get us excited.

You know why? Because they look really damn good. They look really good to everybody else. And we’re spending a lot of our time, our energy and our focus, our three most precious resources worrying about what everybody else thinks about us. You know, there’s, there’s lots of these vanity metrics. It’s not just necessarily in the numbers. It can be the blue check mark that you see on Twitter or Instagram where people get really caught up in that blue check mark.

And the truth is that blue check mark means nothing. It really doesn’t. I mean, there are people who have no followers with the blue check mark, some who have hundreds of thousands of followers without a blue check mark, the blue check mark is just some random person who’s running a platform deciding whether you’re worthy of that blue check mark. You know,

the other thing that I see a lot of times is this false PR those articles or those, you know, covers that you see where someone’s named the best doctor or the best real estate agents, or one of the top 10, you know, business coaches. Do you know how many times I get cold pitches, cold emails, either in my DMS when I was on Instagram.

So not anymore. Thank goodness, but where people were were saying, Hey, we’re doing an article on the, the top authors or the top business coaches. We would love to include you. Here’s how much it costs. And this is what you get, people are paying for those. So a lot of that PR that you see is paid for.

I don’t do any of the paid for PR like my, you know, being on entrepreneur magazine, doing the articles that I write for online, you know, the features and Forbes and those kinds of places. I’ve gotten those for free. I don’t pay for any of that because I don’t agree with it. So it’s really important to make sure that when you’re looking and you’re comparing,

not looking, but really comparing yourself to other people, are you sure that they’ve truly earned those accolades that you see? Another big one is New York times, you know, being a New York times bestseller. And I’ll be honest here. New York times is one of the things that I would love to get as well, but it doesn’t really mean anything at the end of the day.

Did you know that New York times isn’t even about how many books you’ve sold? How many books you’re sold can help you get on New York times. But there are three people, 1, 2, 3, 3 people who are on the New York times bestseller committee. They’re the ones who make the decisions. They decide whether the book is worthy of the New York times bestseller label. In fact, let me share with you just a really quick story,

about two authors who had books that came out the exact same week, both of these authors. I know one is a woman who came out with her book. She sold a good number of copies, several thousand copies of her book. The book has been well received. People are loving the book. The other author was a male author. And he had previously been on New York times with some other,

other books that he had had written. And he also came out with his book the same week as the first author. He didn’t sell nearly as many books as the woman. And yet he made New York times. She did not. It makes no sense. The numbers don’t really add up because there’s this whole secret formula of how it happens. These three people go behind closed doors and they make the decision.

It’s the same thing with books at the airport. People will always ask me, am I going to see your book at the airport? And I’m usually like, no, you’re not all those books you see at the airport. You think that they are the best sellers. Every single one of those books is paid for. It’s paid advertising. I believe it’s,

it’s $5 for each book in each of those bookstores, whether it’s Hudson news or whoever it is in the airport, those are paid advertisements. There’s no like special recognition that happens that you get to achieve getting your book into an airport. You pay to have your book in an airport. You know why? Because it looks really good. It does. I mean,

and for a long time, I thought those were the best-selling books. Those were the top books that were out right now, but it doesn’t mean anything. It just means that their marketing budget is bigger. And what’s funny is whenever I tell people about this, they are almost always shocked. And then they end up telling me stories about things in the industries.

They’re in the awards that people win that are actually paid for the things that are happening behind the scenes. That seem like it’s an accolade, but really it’s bought and paid for. So you just need to be a little bit more aware and not get swept up in what everybody else is doing. Because some of those things that look really, really good are not really,

really good. They’re just really, really expensive. And they’re things that people are paying to do. So that’s just a couple of, you know, ways that people play the game. You know, there’s a great documentary. I think it’s on Netflix. I, I feel like I’m always sharing documentaries because I am a documentary nerd, but I love watching good documentaries.

There’s a great one. I think it’s called false famous, and I’ll put a link to it in my show notes, but false famous, which is all about how people achieve that number of followers, where they are termed, you know, an influencer and get the blue check mark on Instagram and they show how these people make it look like they’re at the spa because they’re laying in a baby pool with rose pedals around them.

One of the things they talk about is how it looks like they’re riding first class on a plane by using a toilet seat. I mean, I can not make this stuff up. It’s crazy. But what’s funny is what they did is they started buying followers, buying the likes, paying for them. And there are services that will do that. And these people just started going up in the rankings and all of a sudden they’re getting free stuff and people are reaching out to them as an influencer when really they don’t even have a quarter of the followers that shown on their accounts.

And this documentary even talks about how the famous celebrities that you look at. And, you know, I think they talked about Kim Kardashians in that one, but she has literally 20% of the followers that shown on social media. And everybody knows it behind the scenes, all of the big advertisers, but they use it anyways because it looks really good. So if you’re caught up in the metrics,

don’t worry, we all get caught up in the metrics. As I said, I would love to be New York times. Not because I think it’s gonna really increase my personal value or how I feel about myself, but it looks good to everybody else and that helps open the doors. So it’s one thing to look at these things as this is a key to open a door.

It’s another thing to look at it as this is my value, or this is my measurement of success, because the truth is you’re putting that definition of success for you into the hands of somebody else. You’re, you’re allowing other people to be the influence of what’s truly important to you. I think revenue is another vanity metric that we see a lot of times we love the idea of running a seven figure business,

right? That whole idea of a seven figure business. If you’re an entrepreneur, that’s like one of the things that people are always striving to do, but here’s a big question for you. Is it a seven figure business? If you make a million dollars, but you have $999,999 of overhead. And I know you might think I’m exaggerating here, but truly some of the biggest brands that you can think of do not turn a profit at all.

I’ll just name a few off the top of my head. Airbnb blue apron, Lyft, Casper, Dropbox, Pinterest, Peloton, snap, Uber. Those are just a few, not one of those turns a profit. And I know that’s surprising, right? So how do they make money? They just keep attracting more investors because they look really good on paper.

And what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to, they’re trying to win the battle Lyft and Uber. They’re trying to see who’s going to come out on top, right? Blue apron versus all the other food delivery, you know, meal delivery plans. They’re trying to win the battle and they’ll spend years without a profit. I’ve met somebody recently who runs an eight figure business.

So 30 plus million dollar business, they were making five figures in profit, less than $30,000 in profit on a 30 plus million dollar company. So don’t get caught up in what it looks like for everybody else. Stop getting caught up in the email list. Number focus. Instead on the open rate, how you’re connecting with your people, don’t get caught up in the website.

Visitors focus in on maybe the conversion rates don’t get caught up in the number of zeros in your paycheck get caught up in the quality of your life. I mean, the truth is if you’re measuring who you are to the industry standards of how everyone else is, you’re not disrupting. You’re setting yourself up for failure. You’re setting yourself up for disappointment because your life is not truly aligned to your own personal metric of success.

You’re not following your zone of genius. If you’re following what everybody else is doing, gaining the life you want requires letting go, letting go of the roles, the expectations, the status, the control. We get really caught up in the numbers and it’s okay if that’s how you’ve been in the past. I’ve been that way too. You know, I know an entrepreneur who tracks the time of every single employee every single day,

because she thinks that’s a metric that’s going to help her out. She doesn’t realize, gosh, that’s burning out her team. Can you imagine time-tracking every time you went to the bathroom for your boss every single day, can you imagine how that would create so much burnout for you? And yet she’s doing that because she’s worried about the bottom line, how everything looks and how people are spending their time and how they’re spending their money.

Is that really what we want to get caught up in what I want you to do as I want you to decide your own metrics. I want you to create your own scoreboard of success and what that looks like to you. So let’s talk about that in just a moment. Let’s just take a quick minute episode break, which I know you’re going to want to listen to,

because this is one of my new metrics of success. You know, today on the show, we’re talking about the metrics of success and what that looks like using metrics as are false gods. And for a long time, I used Instagram and Facebook and those social media numbers to determine my value and my worth. And I made a decision and we talked about this back in November,

back in the episode called taking a stand from the season that I was deciding to get off of social media. I made a very Intentional, very deliberate decision to get off of social media. But I knew that what I liked about social media was my connection points with you getting to chat with you, getting to, to interact with you. So I knew I needed to do something different.

I knew I wanted to think outside of the box, what can we do that could be fun and engaging and exciting something different, but would allow me to connect more with you. And one of the ideas I’ve come up with is to do the Intentional advantage life, which is just something we’re going to do from time to time, which is a free gathering for us to get together.

I think I’m going to host this first one on Crowdcast to see how it goes, because it’s a great platform for us to interact and to chat together. You’re going to be able to ask me questions. We’re going to talk deeper about some of the things we’re talking about this season on the podcast, but you’re going to be welcome to ask me any questions you want to ask me and we’ll just have some conversations.

We’re going to chat. We’re going to talk. We’re going to have a good time. It’s going to be a time for us to connect deeper than we ever could on social media. I’m not selling anything during the Intentional advantage live. It’s just an opportunity for us to get together and connect, to deepen our relationship. So I would love to see you there.

It’s happening next week on January 26, you can sign up at Tanya dalton.com/live. The only reason why I even have a signup page so I can send you the link. And so I can send you a quick reminder email, like an hour before the event happens to make sure that you don’t miss out on it. If you’re not able to attend live,

you’ll also get the replay link. So I would love to see you there. The Intentional advantage live is happening January 26. It’s just a free way for us to get together, to connect and for you to ask me questions and for us just to have some conversation, all right, sign up at Tanya dalton.com/live. Okay. Let’s get back to this idea of the metrics of success and what that looks like to no longer use our metrics as false gods.

I want you to really think about what are the metrics that are important to you to create your own scorecard for success, to ask yourself, what is it I really want? And this is what I want. What should I measure? You know, happiness is a key metric that matters. Are you measuring your happiness because whatever you’re measuring in your life right now,

every measurement has unintended consequences. It affects how we think it affects how we feel. It affects our opportunities. Think about your RAs, your reticular activating system, which just to remind you, we’ve talked about the RAs here on the podcast before, but your RAs is the part of your brain. That filters, right? Your brain is bombarded by so much information and your reticular activating system filters for whatever your brain has determined is most important.

Well, if you start looking at metrics that are tied to your purpose metrics that are tied to your happiness, guess what your reticular activating system is going to filter for happiness. Things that make you feel successful for the life that you want. This is what’s beautiful is that it really allows you to start seeing more of this joy, more of this happiness in your everyday life.

When you choose to tell your brain, this metric is important and that’s what metrics do it tells our brain. This is what’s most important. So what I’d love for you to do is think about what is your ideal day? What does your ideal day look like from start to finish from the moment you wake up in your bed, to the moment you fall asleep back in your bed at the end of the day,

what is your ideal day look like? This is actually an exercise I do with many of my clients start with this ideal in mind and then work backwards to decide, okay, what are the key parts of that day? And then start measuring for those key parts. You know, when you think about your ideal day and I do it as a meditation,

so really thinking about and visualizing, sensing with all my senses what’s happening in this ideal day. Okay. What are the key behaviors feeling healthy? Okay, well then I want to measure for my eating habits or time spent moving my body notice. I didn’t say exercise, but time may be moving my body, whether that’s stretching or going to Pilates or going for a walk or being outdoors,

those kinds of things measuring for days off, measuring with how much time you’re spending with your kids, how much time you’re spending on the other relationships on your, in your life. And when you think about this ideal day, what is the work you’re doing? What does it look like? And start figuring out, okay, what are the metrics I can use to get to that ideal life measure for those metrics?

Maybe it includes, you know, in your ideal day, quality time with clients, more time spent on that versus the right. Okay. Well then let me start focusing in on how much time I’m spending with my clients and start measuring that and looking at that, you know, or maybe it’s the time you’re spending writing, because you enjoy writing. So the time that you’re spending working on blog posts or articles or newsletters,

really start focusing in on what feels nurturing, what feels nourishing to meet, what, what would success look like? And that’s what an ideal day is. It’s the definition of success. This is, this is what I really want. And maybe I should back up here just a second, just to clarify, when I say, think about an ideal day,

I’m not talking about when you’re, you know, in Fiji, in those beautiful huts, you know, laying at the beach and doing those kinds of things, an ideal regular day, an ideal Tuesday in September or an ideal, you know, Thursday in may, what does that day look like? So it includes what you’re doing for your work, what you’re doing for your interactions,

where you’re eating lunch, how you’re, how you’re doing everything and just a normal, regular, but ideal day. So we can start thinking about relationships. We can start starting thinking about how we’re feeling. We can start thinking about, we can start thinking about our mindset. You know, at the start of the season we had Shelly here. She was episode 245 episode,

245. She talked about setting an intention for the day. And she talked about that whole morning routine that she does, where she writes the intention on the mirror. And she does that, you know, she’s brushing her teeth. And then at the end of the day, when she’s brushing her teeth again, she checks in with how she did with that intention.

She she’s trying to embody a certain quality or a trait like patience or kindness. What if you measured for that? How’s my mindset. How, how often am I, am I really sticking to that idea of, I want to focus on this just for today. Don’t you think that would increase your happiness? Would that increase the feeling of joy that you’re feeling on a regular basis?

What if we shifted and flip these metrics on our head to really have meaning for us? What I want you to do is I want you to think of yourself outside of the numbers. We talked in that episode 251, where we talked about impact goals. We talked about when we’re measuring our goals and how we don’t want to get caught up in certain numbers,

those quantifiable numbers, we want to get caught up in the qualitative numbers, the quality, not the quantity and in the book in on purpose on page 94, I say this, what I’ve noticed is we seem to have a bad habit of using those numbers, to decide our value and worth. Remember this, you are more than a number, whether that’s the number on a scale,

the number of followers you have on social media or the number you bring home on your paycheck, numbers do not define you. And they do not determine your worth. I want to make sure that hits home for you. And if you need to go back and read, like I said, this is page 94 of on purpose. This whole idea of measurable and how we want to measure our goals and our successes.

I want you to get caught up in the holistic view, not just the you that shows up online, not just the you, that looks good to everybody else. Who is it? You want to be? That’s the big question, isn’t it? Who is it? You want to be? And that’s one of the things I’m really focusing in on this year.

As I said earlier, this season, my word of the year is audacious. What can I do that pushes me outside of my comfort zone? What can I do to really step into what it is I want in my own life, which is part of the reason why I chose to get off of social media and why we’re doing the Intentional advantage live events,

which I talked about in the mid episode break. I would love to see you there. So if you haven’t already paused the podcast to go sign up for the event, it’s happening January 26, just go to Tanya dalton.com/live. As I mentioned, this is not a webinar. This is not a sales event. This is not, this is just an opportunity for us to connect deeper because I want to do things differently.

Now that I’m not on social media, I want to connect with you in a different way. So you’ll be able to ask me questions. We’d be able to dive deeper into the podcast episodes and more, and we’ll do it together. I think that’ll be a lot of fun doing that live. So really that’s what I’m trying to do is I’m, I’m trying to live life on my own terms.

And that’s what I want for you. I want you to determine your own success because when you decide your metrics, when you decide what is important to you and what your definition of success looks like, that’s when you’ve got the Intentional advantage.



This transcript for the Intentional Advantage — one of the best productivity podcast for women–was created with AI.

Tanya Dalton is a female productivity expert and a top motivating keynote speaker. Her topics on time management, goals, finding balance and habits is inspirational. She speaks to corporate audiences, ERG groups and entrepreneurs.