03/18/2014 12:14 pm ET Updated May 18, 2014

How Do You Measure Third Metric Success?

Jamie Grill via Getty Images

After a long, cold winter, spring had finally begun to peek into the Washington, DC area. I phoned clients and composed emails at my computer all day as sunshine lurked -- just feet away -- on the other side of my window.

After work, I took a break to sit outside and eat my dinner. Just as I left my office, a slight drizzle began. Determined to get my taste of this welcome warmer weather, I pulled a chair under an awning and ate, taking in the gentle sound of raindrops, the occasional flecks of water hitting my skin and the colors of the sky and greenery around me.

A friend had recently described feeling as though a piece of her soul was dying as she pursued a boring task at a lucrative job. Sitting there in my cocooned pocket of fresh air, I had the opposite sense. My soul felt rejuvenated.

When I moved outside, my office-bound perspective gave way to a much broader perspective. It occurred to me that there was a world beyond my brain, my fingertips, my phone and my computer screen. The concerns that had recently filled my horizons became smaller and shifted into their rightful place in the larger context of the world.

When I think of the third metric, I think of moments like this. And I also wonder: What are the metrics we use to measure how well we're incorporating the third metric values of well-being, wisdom, wonder, compassion and giving into our lives?

It's quite clear how to measure money. We can count income, assets and the size of savings or investment accounts.

Power is readily apparent by assessing our position in an organization or the extent of our sphere of influence.

But we don't seem to have the same clear language or commonly-accepted means to describe and measure third metric excellence. Think of holiday newsletters, alumni updates or Facebook posts. We write about the big ups and downs, but we flat out ignore the daily practices that form the fabric upon which we create the tapestry of our lives.

Have you ever seen anyone mention the number of minutes they meditated in a year in an alumni update? Or the quantity of friendly, kind gestures they made? Who talks about the number of times they paused to eat outside and appreciate the first glimpse of a changing season?

It's these third metric activities that keep us well and whole. As Arianna Huffington puts it, they are the third leg that forms a stool that keeps the legs of money and power from toppling over.

It's high time we incorporated our accomplishments with third metric ideals into our daily vernacular. In addition to knowing things like how many hours we billed or the size of our paycheck, we might also know a number like 2,920. That's how many hours you would sleep in a year if you got eight hours of slumber each night.

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