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One of the Community members, Scott, listened to the last episode on The Long Game.
I talked about the importance of not worrying about short-term recognition and instead making your work for ten years from now.
Scott said, “Clearly you need to show up everyday, strive to improve, and work hard. What I’m wondering is if you invest more time, will you see faster results? For instance, if you sleep six hours a night instead of eight to create two extra hours, would you realize your investment sooner?”
I thought this would be an interesting question to discuss on today’s mini sabbatical episode.
I gave a conference talk last year on this topic called, 4 Keys to Growing an Audience:
The first three keys you’ve heard me talk about a lot, but the fourth is equally important:
- 1. Curation (kind)
- The world cannot process your awesomeness.
- People are forced to simplify.
- They’re going to put you in a box.
- Define the box they’re going to put you in.
- Curate what you share.
- 2. Consistency (frequency)
- Experiment with different media.
- If you’re going to do it, do it weekly.
- Get inside the weekly cycle.
- Everyone can make one thing a week.
- 3. Quality (value)
- Deliver quality—care about the production.
- Provide value with all content you make.
- Ask people what they’re struggling with.
- Tailor your content to their questions.
- 4. Time (patience)
The time factor is one that can’t be overlooked.
Personally, I think I’ve maxed out my hustle level and investment with items 1–3 above. #4 is the one that I will have to wait for. It doesn’t matter how hard I work or how many hours—eventually it comes down to the fact that it takes time for the word to spread and it takes time for people to discover you.
Because you can’t speed up the time factor, it would be in your best interest not to burn yourself out but rather to pace yourself for surviving in the long run.
If this were the 1400s, I couldn’t guarantee that you would be discovered. You might die and your work may not be appreciated in your lifetime. But this isn’t the 1400s.
The internet makes discovery too easy. I’m not saying it’s simple or happens overnight, but the odds are so stacked in your favor and technology too conducive to virality that it’s almost impossible for you to show up every day for two years or even 10 years and be ignored. It’s highly unlikely now that a body of work from 730 consecutive days on the internet goes virtually unseen.
Casey Neistat has made 310 videos in the past 305 days. Only one or two went seriously viral. Don’t try to make things that go viral, try to make great things. Of course, it’s not all about virality; while Casey’s videos don’t always go global, he has gone from 400K subscribers to 2M in less than a year by showing up every day.
Eventually, it gets easier. Your current work will build on the success of your past work.
I try to maximize the hustle to the point of being just shy of burning out. Keep in mind though that I compensate for this by taking off a week every seven weeks (like the sabbatical I’m on now). I let the time factor do its work and wait patiently to cash in on my investment.
If you show up every day for two years, you’ll be in a great spot even if you’re just putting forth a mediocre effort. Bear in mind, if you’re really maximizing your hustle during that time, the results you see will almost be no different. This seems disappointing if you don’t have a long game mindset. But if you understand that it’s an investment in your future, you’ll see that when the time factor kicks in, it will have a multiplicative effect.
This is why I say show up every day for two years.
No matter how hard you work, no matter how regularly you post, no matter how good your work is, you can’t ignore the time factor. You have to keep showing up. You have to be patient.
It’s the patience part people struggle with, but there’s a reason they say it’s a virtue.
This conversation originally happened in the Community. That’s where the magic happens.