I’ll eventually talk about this more from a social media perspective, but from everything I’ve encountered, it’s a universal truth:
The only way you’ll be as good as you can be is if you do absolutely nothing.
That might sound backwards, but hear me out.
That means that right now you’re as good as you’ll ever be at a skill – never better – unless you do something to get better.
Every time we do something, we learn and get incrementally better at it.
Sometimes the increment is more. Sometimes it’s less. Sometimes it feels like we’re moving backwards, but we learn. If we do something with the idea that it’s an opportunity to practice, grow, and get better, we’ll get better at it.
Let’s talk about this blog.
Sometimes I write articles that get a lot of shares, reads, and comments. They’re great posts.
Sometimes I write articles that get almost no reads and no comments. They’re not as great posts.
But I wouldn’t have the good articles without the not-so-great ones. The only way is to consistently produce stuff and that provides the opportunity to create increasing greatness.
The best way to produce great stuff is to just keep producing.
If you’re waiting for something to be perfect before you put it out there, chances are you’ll never put anything out there or it will take way longer that it should have.
The people that are really, really great at stuff just started putting stuff out there and kept at it. They didn’t wait until they were really great. They got hustling, made mistakes, stopped to learn, improved, and kept going.
They kept iterating. They kept moving. They weren’t afraid to fail.
That’s how they became great.
So What Are You Waiting For?
You likely have a dream of something you want to be great at.
One of my dreams? I’ve always wanted to be a good singer. Not American Idol good – but good enough that I could sing in front of people and they would say, “Hey, that was actually good.”
The problem? I’m not there yet.
The real problem? I’m not really doing much to get there.
Twice in the past I took singing lessons. Both times they moved me forward. I used to practice and record myself to listen and make tweaks. That moved me forward.
But somewhere along the way, I got frustrated that I hadn’t arrived and I stopped.
And you know what? I haven’t magically got any closer to being a good singer.
What’s really frustrating is that if I hadn’t stopped practicing, I’d be a lot better now than I am. And that was and is 100% in my control.
I learned today about something called the “Mastery Curve”. It’s the proven way how you become great at something. Here’s what it looks like:
You work hard for a while and you get a growth spurt. Then you regress a little and are stuck on a plateau for a while where you have to keep working without seeing growth.
That’s where I quit.
And I think that’s where a lot of people stop. They have success. But then they stop having success.
They don’t realize that by continuing to move, they’ll keep growing and have more success.
They give up.
Maybe that’s you. Maybe you started doing something but gave up because you weren’t seeing results. Or it even felt like you were moving backwards.
Today’s your day to get back on the horse and keep moving.
I know I’m going to pick up my guitar, hook up my mic, and keep practicing.
Maybe I’ll post a song for you in the coming months.
I know it won’t be my best. It can’t be. That will come many years down the road as I keep moving.
But it will move me forward.
EDIT (later this same day): I’m putting my money where my mouth is and doing the most painful thing I can think of – videoing myself singing and posting it here. There’s lots of cringeworthy bits, but there’s also some that I can build off of, learn, and get better. (I don’t really know too many songs beyond old youth group ones so I guess it’s as good as any)
How Does that Apply to Social?
Lots of people want to have a perfect plan for success on social. The problem is that it’s always changing and there’s no way to perfectly plan for anything that involves people.
They’re afraid of putting something out there that makes a mess, upsets people, and gets the negative comments.
Yet, the companies (really, the people) that are being successful are the ones who are committed to continually putting themselves out there, not afraid of taking some risks, and always asking what they can learn as they do.
When they make a mistake, they own up to it, ask what they can learn, and move on.
But they decide, no matter what they feel like and no matter the (lack of) success they see, they’re going to keep going, keep writing, keep blogging, keep posting, and being diligent to do the things that will keep them moving.
These are the companies that are going to succeed.