If you are entrepreneurial, you want to see measurable results. You sing songs for the applause of the crowd. You start blogs to get readers. You paint works of art to be appreciated and purchased. You make sales calls to get the sale. So why shouldn’t we focus on the results we most desire?
Results are like money, we can never have enough. Our fragile egos are never completely reassured by positive results. The halo effect of temporary happiness quickly diminishes. This is true of musicians, writers, and artists, sales professionals and other high performers. Obsession with results clouds our vision. It amplifies our need for the high of affirmation.
We can’t move forward when looking backward. For years, I have struggled to write consistently. Because, as Frank Norris said, “I don’t like to write, but like having written.” Writing comes about by facing fear and producing capturing ideas in sharable form. But thinking about past work produces fear. The last article was so good I’m afraid I won’t duplicate it. Or, the last article was so bad I fear it’s not worth continuing.
Results bring us fleeting happiness, and when happiness ebbs away it leaves us hungry for more. So what should we do about results? Ignore them, or at least try to diminish their importance. Focus on the domain over which you rule uncontested: your work. Our consistent, high-quality work gives us a long-lasting sense of self-respect.
When a musician produces a hit, she will be wise to focus immediately on the next song. A writer should keep writing, especially as critics laud his previous work. An artist should paint new work without worrying if her best work is behind her. A sales person should fill her funnel with prospects even as the million dollar sale closes. Only then will we be in a position to enjoy results in their proper context as the fruit of our continued labors.
Focus on your work. Ignore the results (as much as you can).