One metric that matters – for our lives

The idea behind the “one metric that matters” or OMTM is to move past the noise and focus on the metric that actually drives business success. For example, in the context of publishing and advertising, the one metric that matters is user attention. No attention = no business. What, then, is the OMTM for our lives?

My hypothesis is that it is engagement. Metrics that matter are rarely result based metrics. Result based metrics are lagging indicators. Thus, process based metrics are the way to go. As humans, two process based metrics that play a big role in our days are time and energy. Many tell us that time management is the ultimate hurdle. Then again, others have made a strong case for us to forget about time and focus on our energy. But, that’s exactly what makes engagement special.

Engagement is a function of both time and energy. Engagement requires us to pay attention. And, attention requires energy. So, engagement is actually the consistent application of energy through time. It drives everything good in our lives – better work, better relationships and better fun.

Researcher Brene Brown wrote this about parenting – “We all know that perfect parenting does not exist, yet we still struggle with the social expectations that teach us that being imperfect is synonymous with being inadequate. The real questions for parents should be: “Are you engaged? Are you paying attention?” If so, plan to make lots of mistakes and bad decisions. Imperfect parenting moments turn into gifts as our children watch us try to figure out what went wrong and how we can do better next time. The mandate is not to be perfect and raise happy children. Perfection doesn’t exist, and I’ve found what makes children happy doesn’t always prepare them to be courageous, engaged adults.”

Of course, we could replace parenting with life in this passage and it would still work wonderfully well.