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Are You Worshipping a False God?

Last fall, I had a crushing realization. I’ve been worshipping a false god…and it’s caused me great pain.

The realization came during a seminar led by one of the early pioneers in internet marketing, Ali Brown.

Her message: Today’s marketplace is so oversaturated, full of noisy distractions and changing so fast, that the old formulas for success no longer work.

“Question everything,” she urged us. “Especially question the metrics you’re using to measure your success.”

She ran down a list of the most common measurements: list size, social media followers, team members, seats filled, speed of growth, etc.

“Numbers are the false gods in our industries,” Ali declared. “A lot of pain comes from how you’re measuring your success because you make assumptions that aren’t always correct, based on size and amounts.”

Thus, came my crushing realization. Numbers have always been my yardstick, not just for my professional success, but my value as a person. 

When my numbers were low, I felt like a loser. When the numbers rose, I was once again worthy.

Yet I had no idea how to gauge my level of success except by the size of the numbers. What other metric even mattered?

The answer came in a most surprising manner.  My best friend, Jill, was telling me about all the books she’d read by people who had Near Death Experiences.

“The common theme, among those who temporarily crossed over, is that the most important thing in this life is to be your 100% most authentic self,” she explained.

“What if that’s the whole point?” she continued. “What if the only thing the Universe wants is for YOU to be YOU?”

In that moment, I discovered my new metric.

What if I woke every morning, and instead of asking myself ‘What can I do to increase my numbers,’ ask instead, ‘How can I be my most authentic ME?’ 

The concept is still fresh and feels a bit challenging. How does one even measure authenticity? Can the emphasis on being genuine actually generate profits?

I’m still tempted by the false (yet seductive) god of numbers.  But hey, I’ll give this new metric a try. I have to tell you, I feel my soul is smiling in approval.

I’d love to hear from you. Do you have a metric for success…other than numbers?

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Comments & Feedback

  • Mai Yee

    Barbara, this was the perfect message for me to read today! Thank you for being your incredible authentic self and the work you do! I adore you!

  • Louise


    I must say that of course the title of this email definitely caught my attention! I love this phenomenal trail you’re taking without goals!
    However I have one question?? What’s with the name change?
    •have you recently remarried??
    •Or have you taken your maiden name??
    I must admit, I am not current on your emails. So maybe you announced this name change!

    In any case I truly hope for resounding success from your soul to the Holy Spirit to Jesus to Father God! I’ll be reading.

    • barbara huson

      I appreciate your asking about my name, Louise. I actually wrote a blog about it, a few weeks ago, called “Say Goodbye to Barbara Stanny. ” The short version: I’ve been married for almost 6 years, but I decided to take my husband’s name now because it hit me one day…why am I keeping my -ex’s name–a man who was never happy with me–when I have a husband who truly love and accepts me as I am? And seeing myself through the eyes of his love for me, I’ve learned to love myself.

      I’m still getting used to the change, but it feels so right!!!

  • Cassandra Coghill

    I love love LOVE this conversation, thank you SO MUCH for opening it up!!!

    I definitely have always been on board with measuring success by authenticity.. it is a FEELING to me more than anything.. I lean toward the artistic side of the brain over the rational. Which means, I’ve had to learn to open up to engaging with numerical metrics moreso as a TOOL for increasing my ABILITY to be successful than as a method of GAUGING my success. I always gauge my success by how I feel…

    There is a number that holds me back from achieving financial success based on the conventional description and it works like this: the total amount of currency in the world is basically worth a total amount (around 3 trillion usd if I’m remembering correctly? It’s been a minute since I looked it up…) such that, divided out equally amongst all of the human beings alive today, there is enough for each person to have around $10,000 cash in the bank at any given point in time.

    Now, obviously there are issues with cost of living being higher in some places than others, but there’s also the issue of the standard of living being generally higher in places where more privileged people live… so, the question I’ve been working on around my relationship with money is less “How can I be successful with money?” and more “How can I impact the way that our culture and society (and people around the world) think about money, in a way that makes it more equitable for everyone, so that ALL people can and do live lives of wealth, abundance and prosperity?”

    I’m soooooo so happy that you are stepping away from the practice of using numbers as a measure of your worth, because your worth is utterly and absolutely unconditional. The work you do holds SO MUCH VALUE for the world, and I’m so pleased by the way you are continuing to learn and grow, even after experiencing so much growth, transformation, evolution and success in your lifetime thus far. Thank you for inspiring me every day!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 <3 <3 <3

    • barbara huson

      I love your post, Cassandra…thanks for sharing your perspective with me. And I deeply appreciate your kind words…they touched my heart and lifted my spirit!!! Big hugs xo

  • Gianna Miceli

    I really like this blog and concept. My clients measure themselves in the number on the scale, when I’m trying to get their health numbers in order. The psychology to break the scale addiction is brutal even though they intellectually know muscle weighs more than fat.

    I do agree with you that my sense of value is tied to my money numbers. I focus on that how many women I’m helping is reflected in my income numbers.

    Being single as long as I have has allowed me to become more of my authentic self because I only have myself to please lol.

    • barbara huson

      My challenge, Gianna, is that I still want to make money, but I don’t want the amount to define me. I still want to grow my biz but I don’t want numbers to be the gauge of my value. I’m just trying to live into the new way of measuring my success, by the happiness that authenticity brings me,while still being profitable. I do not believe the the two are mutually exclusive…but I suspect a part of me still does.

      I always love hear your point of view! Thanks

  • Wendy Dewar Hughes

    It’s funny how we often come to this realization so late in life. It takes a while to quiet the voices of our environment that shout at us to be something other than who we really are. Why would God want that of us?

    The measure of success in North American culture is all about money equalling personal value. But it’s a lie.

    I recommend Dr. Caroline Leaf’s book, The Perfect You, for more reasons to be you.

    • barbara huson

      Thanks Wendy…I’m going to order it right now. And I agree with everything you said…some of usjust take longer than others to wake up to the truth, I guess!

  • Dipika Delmenico

    Barbara these words really resonated with an ” Hallelujah. I hear you sister!”. When I launch new online programs, teach workshops, present, even in clinic I am constantly given the number measurement question by family, friends, colleagues. People could ask what I’ve been up to and seemingly genuinely engaged I’ll share a program I’ve been immersed in creating, launching only to be received with “Sounds great. How many people did it?”. I feel myself contract. It’s not the words I resonate with as sacred success. I acknowledge how I’ve grown and stretched myself with each endeavour, how I meet it, what I’ve learnt about my own truth and sit in this company of truth, depositing into the vast vault of my authentic self where I sense the real measurement that I understand and experience as abundance. Quantitate without qualitative has no place at my table!

  • Joanna

    I appreciate your question and perspective!
    Joy has been my primary way of assessing whether I’m on the right track. Mine and that of others. Me being joyful me, seeing and greeting the light in them.

    In the way I’ve done this work previously, I didn’t always know the outcome. I gave away a lot of my time and services, which can make it challenging to follow up… and sustain the work I do.

    This year, that’s changing. I’m pricing services now, seeing folks for a fee. So now the metrics come into play, as they’ll help me see where I’ll need to adapt what I’m offering, and how.

    • barbara huson

      I like your perspective a lot, Joanna. Joy is the true metric to let me know if I’m what I’m doing to earn money and make an impact is authentic. This makes so much sense to me. THANKS!!!

  • Janis K. Wheeler

    Thank you so much Barbara for the books you have written. I have significantly gained my own authority and agency from reading the wonderful nurturing and character building information you present. You have truly been a blessing in my life. I have also greatly benefited in knowing who I am authentically by having a fingerprint analysis done by a well known authority in the U.K., Helen Elizabeth Evans, founder of When I found Helen, I had just figured out that I had spent most of my adult life living through the role of caretaker-rescuer. Having rejected that behavior as disrespectful and controlling to my loved ones, I was seeking ways to find my authentic identity. My fingerprint analysis has been an incredible guide post for me to develop my inherently authentic Self. For example, I have moved away from being a workaholic and embraced playfulness as an intrinsic part of my life’s work. That is a big shift in quality of life and healthfulness. If you haven’t heard of her Barbara, do check her out. There is so much that we learn and take on that is not really us. It is so valuable to be able to have a clear guidepost that brings us back to our own authenticity, especially during times of choice. Thank you for all you do Barbara. You make a big difference in so many lives.

  • Marrey Embers

    The metric I use has to do with my personal vision statement. I wrote this, built on digging first into what my values were. And then from that foundation, writing a present tense, holistic statement for how I want to live my life/show up in my world.
    This means when I catch myself in the act of living my vision I give myself silent kudos–or when I need to make a difficult decision, I ask myself how my vision can guide me.
    Thanks for this post and question.–and for the help you are to so many.

  • susanne calman

    Oh this was perfect for me this morning. I was feeling quite flat with only a few bookings for my retreat and yes I had been completely focusing on having the right numbers to perhaps send a message of success via my photos, family, clients etc….
    When I come back to my authentic me I know that it’s never been about the numbers but me bringing my wisdom to each retreat so that clients can achieve their own personal intention.
    I feel the weight lift off my shoulders …
    Thank You

  • Pam

    Lately, I’ve measured success by two different directions. How often I allow myself to be quiet and do nothing and the feeling I get when I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and how regularly I practice. A consistent hour of doing something without hoorays or shares or needing any attention. That choice of doing something in appreciation which is what I consider focus. – I love the feeling of gratitude and quiet combined. The exercise is telling myself that it is enough right now and the path is unfolding is a whole new way of living.

  • Kat

    Excellent line of inquiry, evaluation of programs is a large part of my work and much needed to ensure wise and fruitful use of our resources. But, I am learning, slowly, and yes, in mid-life, to back off numbers and tune into feelings in my personal life. Instead of focusing on the scale, do I feel healthy and sexy? Instead of focusing on spending the least amount on things, I often spend more to support a business or artist, song writer that brightens the world. I love that I enjoy enough abundance to support others in realizing their promise. Now that I think about it, they all live authentically. It is a highly attractive quality.

  • Christine Treacy

    ‘How can I be my most authentic ME?’
    What an ‘aha moment’!! Thank you, Barbara, this was a very thought-provoking read today.

  • Laura

    Barbara, yes! This is so juicy! I feel it when marketing (always has been “hard” for me in the past) starts to feel more effortless, I feel joy in the offer, and people reach out. I still keep track of the numbers, but having that feeling of relationship, creativity, possibility…it’s so very rewarding. And…keeps us moving forward in business, too.

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Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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