How often do you see ads popping up in your news feeds saying things like “how I made 6 figures in 6 months doing this one thing” or “How I made a million dollars in 4 hours a week”? Every. Single. Day.
I don’t know about you, but these stories are getting old for me. Instead of inspiring me like they used to I’m finding I come away with a sense of frustration. More than anything a feeling that I’m somehow failing or doing something wrong because I’m not like them. I am no overnight success. Making it in business has and continues to be a struggle for me and today I feel like it’s time to be real about this.
We all fail. I’ve failed many times. I’m failing right now. This is the reality of the entrepreneurial journey. But it isn’t all bad. Failing can be a good thing too, and I’ll tell you why.
Where is this coming from?
I’m sitting here writing this to you right now because today was a planning day for me. I sat down to reflect on the goals I set earlier in the year and to set new ones for what’s left of 2019. For me this year’s achievements to date were somewhat depressing, and I’ve been lying in bed for over an hour now going over them in my head. There are things I thought I’d achieve a long time ago, that still are a long way off. There are things I thought would be a raging success that flopped. And there are things that I had promised you I would have done by now and have not. This is what disappoints me the most.
I’ve been telling you for months that my course was just around the corner, and I honestly thought that it was. But every time I think I’m getting close I realise there is more work to do, or something comes up that takes my time away from The Freelance Mama, or I hit a struggle with tech that holds me back (don’t get me started on tech…it is not my forte).
Every time I don’t get there in time it feels like another failure and, well, I guess it is. But after some reflection today, I’ve realised that while I’ve failed over and over again in 2019, I’ve also learned a lot. And learning is not failing. Learning is winning!
Failure is progress
Successful businessman (and former CEO of IBM) Thomas J Watson is quoted as having said “if you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate”. Now I’m not a big fan of failure, and I don’t recommend it as a business technique, but what I take from this is that if you don’t try you won’t succeed. Or you could say, the more you try the more you will succeed.
The entire entrepreneurial journey is about trying new things. Some things work others do not. You can do things to sure up your bets like doing due diligence on your business idea, testing your market, surveying potential customers and keeping the day job until you’re confident you can bring in an income from your business, but you’re never going to get every decision right.
Sometimes you will make mistakes and you will fail. Sometimes things will take longer than you thought they would and you will fail. Sometimes a product or service you are offering won’t take off like you thought it would and you will fail. But each of these failures is a learning and they will teach you how to do things differently next time.
Goal setting through failure
One thing I think a lot of people struggle to do is to persist with goal setting at time when their results would suggest that they have failed. It can feel like you have put all this effort into setting goals and yet your results have maybe been mediocre at best. Trust me, I’ve been there. I’m there right now. It sucks and it is disappointing, but it is what it is. It’s times like these, that you need to pull up your big girl panties and write some new goals!
I was listening to a podcast recently by Hal Elrod where he was talking about goals. Now, I’m paraphrasing here (so apologies to Hal if I don’t get this quite right), but he said something like “it’s not achieving the goal that is important, but how you grow along the journey”. That’s exactly what I’m talking about here.
There will often be times where you will not achieve a specific goal, but what you learned in working towards that goal could be as valuable (or maybe more valuable) than what you would have achieved if that goal had been met. It’s important to understand this and to know that you should continue to develop your goals and set new ones even when your current goals haven’t worked out as planned, because if there is one thing I am confident of it is that you will achieve a hang of a lot more if you have goals than what you will if you have none.
So where does that leave us?
Well, despite the failures so far in 2019 I am going to finish setting my goals for the last part of 2019. I’m planning content, I’m setting list building targets and I’m setting new course launch dates. Will I meet them all? Probably not. Am I planning to fail? Nope. But I do know that if I do fail it is not because I haven’t reached for the stars!
And for you, even though it’s starting to feel like it is getting late in the year, it is not too late to start with goal setting for 2019 (or to do a reset if you are not where you had planned to be). Pull out some paper and start brainstorming what it is you would like to achieve for the rest of the year. Then think about what the actions steps are that you need to achieve to start working towards those goals and write those down too.
I find it easiest to achieve goals if I have them broken down into lots of little sub-goals that I can achieve in little bite sized chunks. Then you can pop them into a little list in order of priority and check them off as you go. I find this quite effective as it then feels like you are making progress (plus you can also set little rewards for yourself when you meet particular milestones). If you need some great worksheets to help you plan out your goals have a look at The ONE Thing book website. The ONE Thing book and resources can really help you to focus your thinking on what your most important goals are. If you don’t have the book yet why not just have a look at the free worksheets and see how you go!
The other thing I find really helpful is to work with an accountability group or buddy (or if all else fails get yourself an app that will hold you accountable). One app that I’ve found good is Commit to 3. This app is designed to be used with an accountability partner but works just fine if you’re going it alone. The idea is that you set three goals each day and share them with your partner through the app. You can then check in with each other to see how you are getting on. And even if you don’t hear from your partner your phone will keep reminding you, so if nothing else those little notifications will help keep you on your toes!
Wishing you the best of luck with your goals (and failures) for the remainder of 2019.
P.S. One of my biggest goals for this year is to build up my email list. Think you could help me? If you know of any other mums looking for ways to work from home then I would be so grateful if you could send them in the direction of my 7 Ways to Work from Home eBook. They will get 40 odd pages of awesome FREE content, and you’ll get some good feels for helping a fellow mama out! xx