The power of everyday
When I was first starting out my career I worked for an aviation startup company. My boss was more of a salesperson than a coder but he used a lot of techniques in 2002 that today’s “growth hackers” rave all about.
One thing that always impressed me as a introvert was how everyday he’d call at least twenty people. A lot of these people he knew from corporate aircraft sales, other times he’d cold call aircraft brokers and try to convince them to place an add on the site. He would do this consistently every morning. Sure enough, every day he’d at least have five paid ads to place on the site.
What my boss knew is that the most important part of our site was the aircraft classifies. It was the most trafficked part of the site and the best revenue generator (other than the banner ads, which you guessed he also sold on his calls). He knew that the people marketing their corporate jets or their aircraft repair services wouldn’t come knocking on his door, we were a third player in a very small niche market, he had to be on their mind constantly and that required working the phones and using his gift of gab as an experienced salesperson.
My boss, Jeff, focused on the one thing that would make or break the site, ad sales, and everyday he developed a routine that would help ensure it, twenty calls a day, five emails, a newsletter every week.
I think most of us start strong, we tell ourselves we’ll work out more, or write more, or learn a new skill. But all too often we fail, why? I think the simple answer is we don’t make the thing that will advance us towards our goals a part of our every day lives, every single day.
I’ve started writing 500 words a day, every single day, a lot of times I’m writing for a blog post or newsletter, but other times I’m just writing whatever is on my mind. I’ve tried many times to start a blog but I’ve always confused on the wrong thing. I thought to be successful I had to write a blog post or two every week. But that’s the wrong way to look at it. By putting the pressure to come up with a topic, write a 1000+ word post on it, edit it. It was all too easy to slack off and not do it, it seemed like too big a test. I’d start strong and after a few weeks just run out of juice to keep going.
But you know what? By forcing myself to write 500 words, any words, I find the posts are writing themselves. After a couple of days of writing I usually have a post or newsletter ready to go. Writing has started to become a habit, like brushing or flossing my teeth.
I’ve also started running/jogging 3 miles a day using the same philosophy. I don’t really worry about my pace, my goal is to just complete the 3 miles every single day (with one day of rest). In a week I’ve noticed that every day I’m jogging farther without having to walk. Ever day I’m learning what my optimal pace is and how far I can push myself. My mind is getting used to how my body and my legs feel when I run.
I got inspired to write 500 words a day from Nathan Barry. His app, Commit, will let you set daily goals like “writing 500 words a day” and then it will easily track how many days you meet that goal. The trick is that the longer you keep up writing, the more motivation you have to not break the streak. Currently I’m at 18 days, I have a real motivation to write today and write tomorrow.
Same with the jogging and exercising, by making it just another part of my day I’m banking that over time it will meet my goal of becoming healthier. I’m not worried about how I’m running, or how I’m writing, and instead I’m just doing it. There’s a great podcast that I recommend anyone interesting in becoming successful at whatever you want to do: http://www.earwolf.com/episode/why-your-brain-is-sabotaging-you/