I’ve been reflecting on this question this past week, especially given how much more creative work I managed to get done in just 5 days.
“Getting an audience is hard. Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose and of action over a long period of time.”
— Bruce Springsteen
A couple of weeks ago, a client of mine scheduled a follow-up session on SEO with me. Her last session was in June 2020. That’s right. The two sessions were nearly a year apart.
When we began session 2, she had this wide grin on her face and I asked her why. She responded with, ‘Did you know that I’ve only been focusing on SEO traffic since last June? And that my traffic has quadrupled since we last met?’
My jaw dropped, not because this was impossible, but because of what she said next.
I’ve been following your advice and have stayed completely off social media. My traffic is split 90–10: 90% search traffic and 10% direct traffic. Thank you so much!
At that moment, I had this incredible moment of pride and humbling. Pride because I was so very proud of this client and the work that she’d put in and how she’d stayed the course.
Humbling because she had done something I had talked about and which I hadn’t been following myself with my business
She stayed the course
In other words, she didn’t shy away from the hard work and the idea of working in obscurity. She focused on two things only: Creating content and listening to what her true audience wanted.
How many of you start working on your business and then start expecting things to happen in a few weeks? And if it doesn’t, how many of you throw in the towel and give up?
On social media, the easy way out could be focusing on the wrong metrics: Number of followers and number of likes/comments.
The Joy that Deep Work Provides
This week, I published two blog posts on my website, three posts on my Medium blog- including this one- and launched a podcast where I also uploaded two episodes. The sheer adrenaline rush from doing those things was . . . indescribable.
- This is how authors feel every time they finish writing a book
- It’s how artists feel when they look at a finished painting
- That’s how musicians feel when they master a particularly difficult composition
The common thread? They don’t shy away from doing the work.
So, how do you choose not to take the easy way out?
Find Your Why
Everytime you begin to feel that you’re either stagnating or not seeing the needle move forward, remind yourself why you started what you did.
For example, I started blogging in 2007 because I wanted to journal my thoughts as a new parent. What began as a hobby blossomed into a regular writing practice.
Social media brought my work to a wider audience in 2013. While that was a good thing, it also made me silently seek validation whenever I posted a piece of content. Blogging groups that I joined (and ran) all relied on the principle of reciprocity. If someone wrote a blog post, I was expected to comment on it and receive comments in return.
In all of this, I’d forgotten my why. I started writing because I enjoyed it and had a message to share. Finding that reason again gave me a reason to step away from social media validation.
Enjoy the Process
One of the things I began doing in June 2020 was stepping back from a specific target or goal. Instead, I dug deep and started enjoying the process of posting content, learning all about how to use Instagram as a business owner and losing myself in the joy of creativity.
The more I focused on the process, the less I worried about the end goal or the result.
Focus on Showing up; Not on Motivation
If you’ve ever tried to start and stick with a fitness habit (or any habit, for that matter) and found yourself falling off the bandwagon, it’s probably because you were relying on motivation.
Motivation doesn’t work to keep you going. It relies on willpower, which is one of the weakest muscles you possess. However, do you know what works?
I show up every morning, between 6 AM and 8.30 AM to create content- write a blog post, write a Medium post, create content for my newsletter or my social media or craft ideas for my courses and podcast.
The more regularly I do this, the easier it is for me to enjoy the process.
Staying the course may seem like the hard thing to do, but here's a fun fact. The hard stuff actually becomes enjoyable the more regularly you do it.
So, the only thing you need to ask yourself today is: Are you taking the easy way out?