Sometimes we feel like we aren’t doing well when in fact we are doing better than ever. There are moments when we achieve something great only to feel like we missed the mark. Why does our success sometimes feel like a failure?
Set goals that are specific and reachable.
The first thing we need to do is set some goals. Think about what you would like to accomplish. These can be personal and business related. Make sure to keep these goals realistic and well defined. Don’t just say that you want to be a rockstar. What does that mean exactly? Start with something like you want to sell 100 copies of your album. This way we have something specific to strive for. An abstract goal is something that is impossible to achieve and therefore you’ll feel like you never made it. However, once you sell 100 albums, you will feel the pride of obtaining that goal that you set out to get.
Break your goals into steps
Once you have your goal, we need to break it down into steps. Think of these steps as mini-goals. Let’s use the example of selling 100 albums again. How do we sell 100 albums? It doesn’t just happen because we want it. We need to think of ways to sell these 100 copies. Maybe we sell them at our live shows by promoting them on stage better. Maybe we decide to ask the local music store to stock them. Maybe we get our album onto iTunes, Amazon, etc.
You might need to expand your steps further as you go. Try to make each step a simple task that is easy to accomplish. Once you get your steps, you will see a plan start falling into place. Nobody ever become successful without having a plan. Each step taken becomes a victory. Not having these steps leaves you feeling like you aren’t making progress. You need to start feeling good about each step that was taken towards your goal.
Set timetables for your goals
This point is important to keep us on task. It is easy to tell yourself that you’ll get it done when you have time. Then a year flies by and you are in the same place as you were before. Keep yourself on a timeline or deadline. Find out what works better for you. Some people like the pressure of deadlines to get them motived while others like to work on things day by day. Either way, keep up with your schedule. You’ll notice that you are always moving forward by doing this. This will make you feel better about your progress towards your goals.
Never compare yourself to others when making goals
I talked about this before in my post Why Fighting Bands is a Waste of Your Time. You need to make these goals reflect what you want to achieve and not on what somebody else is doing. Base them on where you are at in your career. Don’t just say that you want to be better than the other band in town. That is a moving target and who is to say that you ARE better than the other band. Don’t worry about the other bands. Don’t waste your time with that when you could be getting closer to reaching a new high point with your band instead.
Review your goals over time
This is something that helps you figure out how your goals are serving you. Let’s say every 3 months we review our goal of selling those 100 albums. After 3 months, we’ve sold only 10. Now is a good time to ask what we could do to improve on that goal. Let’s say we sold 250 albums instead. Now is a good time to review our achieved goal and come up with a new one.
These are also chances to review our goal to make sure this is something we want to achieve still. Maybe you realize that selling those 100 albums doesn’t align with your overall mission to be the best live band you can be. If that goals no longer suits you then now is the time to say goodbye to it, and set a new goal that helps you push towards your true objectives. Sometimes the best plans are plan B in the scheme of things. Ditching a goal that is sucking the life out of you will free you of negative energy. This is why it is good to review your goals over time to make sure they are still helping you move forward.
Reward yourself when you reach a goal
This is my favorite part! Reward yourself when you reach a goal. A little positive reinforcement goes a long way. Why not give yourself a reward if you reached your milestone? You did the work, and you deserve to take the credit. This also makes those pesky steps more fun when you get something in the end. Make the reward appropriate for each goal. After you sell those 100 albums, take the band out to dinner with some of the money you earned. We want to emphasize the successes in our career.
Write down your successes each day
This tip I learned from John Sammel at CJS Productions. No achievement is too small to make the list. Did you write a new song today? Write that down as a success. Did you send out an email to your email list? Boom, another success! Did you remember to renew your domain name? Congrats, you are on a roll. The reason to do this is to show you how many things go well in a day. It is a way to focus on the positive things you did. The more you focus on what went right, the less value you give to the things that went wrong. Once you get in the habit of seeing the positive, the more you’ll want to accomplish in order to add it to your success list. It’s about perspective.
Failure can be a success
I have learned some of the best lessons by failing. I would have never learned as much about certain things if everything went smoothly. If you learned what NOT to do, then you have a success on your hands. Explore this concept more in my post Mistakes Can Be The Best Thing Ever.
I hope you enjoyed this post. I would love to hear what your goals are and what you do to achieve them. Leave a comment below to let me know.
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2 thoughts on “Why your success feels like a failure”
You do a great job informing and inspiring local musicians. Keep up the great work.
Thanks, John! You do the same with what you are doing. I have learned a few things already from you.