To Get Ahead, You Need To Take A Step Back

Look at your actions: are they actually bringing you closer to your goals?

I was away for a long weekend with my family.

It was a time to take a step back from the day to day. To connect, and to reflect.

I had scheduled out time over the weekend to write and to keep working. No break in my usual stride.

Its been almost exactly 6 months into my writing path. And I love writing as much, if not more, than ever.

But I have started to do some of the other “stuff” involved with building a writers’ platform. I’ve been poking around in the dark, trying to figure out what else I need to do. To connect with more readers, more humans. To find My Tribe.

And something has been nagging at me. Something in the back of my head that I couldn’t put my finger on.

I decided not to write while I was away. Instead of grinding through the plan I had set out. To take a step back. To think about all the actions that I do. To confirm they still align with my goals. And to figure out what was nagging me.

Here are the lessons I learned.

You have to trust yourself

Part of me was nervous about abandoning my plan for the weekend. Would I fall off my writing wagon and land in a ditch? Would I throw 6 months of work down the drain? Would I find its easier to just sit around and relax… forever?

But this is perfectionist thinking. I still have to remind myself. On an almost daily basis.There is no wagon. There is no ditch. It’s OK to take a few days to reflect.

I’ve learned to trust myself this much. I can take time off. There is a small voice in the back of my head. It wants to tell me something. I need to listen.

I can take this time and then get back to my goals. I believe in myself.

Sometimes we are so focused on execution, we forget what we actually want

One of the downsides of being a “productive” person: we are constantly striving. I am a person who loves a plan. Following a plan is usually what gets me closer to my goal.

But I lost sight of the reason I had a plan in the first place.

Like I said, one of my main goals in building a writers’ platform is so that I can connect with more people. Find like minded readers. My Tribe.

But I created a lot of tasks that I’m not convinced will get me to that goal. Accepting too many guest blogging requests on sites whose audiences are not My Tribe. Writing canned sounding social media posts because I am “supposed” to do, say, or sound a certain way.

Why was I doing this? This disconnect between my plan and my bigger picture goals was what was nagging at me. I was running down a path, but it was a path with the wrong goal at the end.

I need to create a different plan. A plan that leads me down the road I actually want to travel.

You need to find your own “right” way

I still love writing. I want to write more. And I understand that part of creating a writing platform is what I consider to be the necessary evil of social media. Social media can be an amazing connector. There are some inspiring people out there that I would never have seen or heard of without it.

And there is no shortage of people who are willing to tell you or sell you a map. The shortcuts to a massive following! Be Insta-famous!

So I started with someone else’s map. And it felt completely wrong.

I’m not saying I won’t use social media to find more of My Tribe.

But not the way I was doing it. Nothing about using someone else’s path felt authentic or organic to me. It felt weird, contrived. I felt as if I had to use a different voice than the one I have honed over the past 6 months.

I don’t want to do that.

Maybe there is a better way to build out a platform. Maybe I will make 10x more mistakes doing it my way. Instead of taking the advice of others who have already achieved some level of “success” (whatever that means).

But it will feel right to me. It could be slow. There could only be a few people out there who connect with my voice. But those will be My Tribe. Instead of thousands of people who focus on having a massive following, at any cost.

In the end, I am so glad that I took the time to reflect. Without a few days’ break, I could still be performing tasks that don’t feel right to me. Inching closer and closer to a goal that isn’t exactly what I want.

So, the next time you hear a small voice inside your head. Questioning, nagging. Listen to it. Take some time to hear what it has to say. That voice in your head is always right. If you give it the opportunity to speak.

Trust it. And trust yourself.

With the right framework plus the right mindset, anything is possible.

Do you feel like you want to get more done but you are not sure what is holding you back? Take this quiz to find out:

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by + 381,508 people.

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