Being a card carrying Canadian, one thing that graces our television during the winter months is hockey.
Recently, while watching an international tournament, the coach of the team got bombarded with a million microphones and asked one main question: how is he going to bring home the gold?
His answer was really profound which is unusual given all the tired sports metaphors one usually hears – Ready to give it 110% guys?
He simply said, (and I’m hardcore paraphrasing here) “I’ve told the boys to do what they know and the results will take care of themselves.”
One of the great reoccurring themes of meditation and mindfulness is that when you put all your focus into your intention about an action and not the result, you can release yourself from needing (and tying your self-worth to) a certain outcome. Crazy, the coach is pretty zen!
What does all this have to do with online business? So glad you asked!
The Numbers Trap
Too often, goals get wrapped up in the metrics and stats that we simply cannot control.
We can’t control how many subscribers we’ll get this month or this year, yet so often that metric will hit the goal sheet as a measure of how “well” our site did.
Ultimately, we can’t control how many pageviews we get because those are actions of others and I know I’m not running around the neighborhood, firing up other people’s computers and checking out my site.
When we focus on the things we can’t truly control it can create a lot of problems for us and our blogs.
1. You get stuck easier. Ever felt sorry for yourself because of some external thing you can’t control? I know I have and that takes away all the power you have to actually affect change in your life. It works the same for blogging and business. If you are creating and judging your success by uncontrollable events it leads to a sense of powerlessness and a lack of control. Not the best place to be working from.
2. You end up not actually doing the stuff that matters. Let’s take good old fashion pageviews for example. Say your goal is to have 200 pageviews a day by the end of February. That goal fits nicely into the “I can’t-control-that” column so instead of focusing on the actual tasks and actions you need to do to influence that result – you focus on the number (refresh, refresh) but wishing certainly doesn’t make it so.
3. It’s easier to compare yourself to others (and not feel like you measure up.) When we focus goals outward and on the uncontrollable metrics of our websites, it’s far easier to look outwardly for everything. Does this other person have more subscribers? Wow, look how many comments so-and-so is getting. And the green eyed monster takes over, stealing your ability to highlight your unique gifts because you’re too worried about everyone else.
Flipping Goal Setting Upside Down
So what’s the answer? No goals? Just kind of float down the river of life?
What if instead of goal setting based on metrics, we focus on doing the things that we can control, the things we know, and letting the outcome take care of itself.
Focusing on the habits, the actionable things, the day to day stuff that makes those bigger things happen, almost naturally.
What do you have control over? Where should you place your energy? What should you act on?
You can control what you produce and you can control how often you produce it. It’s really that simple. But in that simplicity is all the power.
You can produce blog content at intervals you determine and you are totally in charge of how much effort you put into making that content great.
You can contact other sites and try to get guest posting gigs or interviews. You can’t control if you’re accepted but you sure can control how often you put yourself out there.
You can control what products you offer and how much you market them.
Should We Just Ignore Stats?
So where do pageviews and stats come in? Do we just ignore the whole numbers side of things?
Of course not! Those numbers are going to tell you whether your individual actions are producing the outcomes you want. That’s incredibly valuable information!
They help you evaluate, adjust and make course corrections on your journey – they’re the feedback loop – not the ultimate goal.
As you’re creating and crafting your business goals, how can you approach your goals from a place of control? What actions should you focus on to get the desired results?
Focus on that and the results will take care of itself.