Photo by Jungwoo Hong on Unsplash

Think About The Outcome, Not The Results

A simple strategy that focuses on building a habit and consistency.

At the start of this week, I’ve been in pitching mode. In an attempt to get more clients, I’ve started to join a few Facebook groups and start pitching my writing skills to other people.

How many people do you think I’m pitching to over the day?

How long do you think I’m spending time on these pitches?

I can assure you that it’s very little and for not that long.

Since I’ve started I’ve focused on pitching to one person per day and that takes me about 5–10 minutes per day. Most of it stemming from finding an ad that’s worth responding to.

And while most people will probably tell me I need to be pitching a lot more to people, my focus isn’t so much on landing a bunch of clients. The reason I’m doing this is a little deeper than that.

Whenever we do something different or attempt to make a difference in our lives, our emotions go through a cycle.

At first, there is the initial excitement. When we set a goal, we think about why we want to achieve it, we pump ourselves up with motivation, we generally feel excited about it.

But over time, those emotions begin to flee.

Maybe you set a goal to lose weight and at first you lost a bunch of weight and then the following few days you gained it all back for some reason.

Or maybe you’re looking for a partner and have messaged dozens of people and have gotten no responses.

In those moments we begin to doubt ourselves and for many of us we give up right then there.

But the thing with people is that our brain retains that failure and more often than not it becomes part of our reality.

People don’t bother about trying to lose more weight, after all, it’s only going to come crawling back and get much worse.

There’s no point in finding a partner because no one finds you interesting.

We hold ourselves in stasis and refuse to change. And the reason we do all that boils down to our perception of obstacles.

Most just happen to believe obstacles are threats to our success and aren’t worth the bother trying. They’re demoralizing.

And our brain takes that idea and makes it our reality. We lose momentum when we feel resistance or we run into a clear problem.

But what this strategy I’m doing breaks that mould. Because I believed that doing my own outreach is complicated. That pitching to people outside of Upwork was going to be a massive challenge. That maybe I had to hunt down the right client and that’d take me hours out of my day.

But like I said, I’ve managed to find a potential client that will bring me closer to my goal and it took me a fraction of what I thought it would take.

I’ve started to shatter my perception of these obstacles.

And that brings me to another point about goals. The fact that we focus so much on results as opposed to the actual journey and process. When we first set a goal, our source of motivation can stem from many things. But for a lot of us, we focus on those end results.

The “prize” that we’ll get at the end.

Losing a significant amount of weight, or finding an ideal partner, or landing that job we wanted.

Of course we want those things.

But this provides another mental blockade that we have to overcome.

Because sometimes we’re going to fail. We’re not going to hit our target. Or maybe something happens that puts a wrench in those plans and we start to doubt ourselves and lose momentum.

We begin to ask ourselves “Why bother with this?

And those emotions of doubt and hesitation stem from a shift in our reality. We feel like we’re stepping backwards after making a few steps forward.

But all of that begins to change when we focus more on the process, our output. And all that’s worth asking in those situations is one key question:

Are you making an effort?

It doesn’t have to be some monumental step forward. It can be a crawl, a small hop, or a steady pace.

And that’s what my sad attempt at pitching represents. I’m not focusing on landing a bunch of clients. I’m focusing more on getting my name out there, telling people what I’m about and what I can do. If people are interested and I get some clients, that’s great.

But I’m more focused on shaping my reality. That if I take even a sliver of progress, I can use that as leverage. To go back and tell myself “see that wasn’t so bad now was it?”

And that can make a huge difference in our lives in terms of success and achieving our goals.

Because in the end, you only really need to make a small step forward to begin a dramatic change in your life. And that can be as simple as setting a laughably small goal that takes a few minutes out of your day.