These launches are crazy stressful. You spend years working on a book, and then — BOOM! It’s out in the world, nobody seems to care, and success rests solely upon you.
When Nicole’s first book came out, she hustled and promoted like crazy — but it never felt like enough.
Then someone gave her this advice: Before your book comes out, you must clearly define what a successful launch is to you.
“I never felt like I was successful, or I never felt like I was doing enough to be successful,” she said recently on our podcast. “I wasn’t doing enough events. I wasn’t doing enough press. I wasn’t selling enough books.”
But Nicole had no idea what “enough” was — because she’d never defined it.
“How many appearances were a success?” she said. “How many sales were a success? How many press hits were a success? If I didn’t put a number to that, I was destined to constantly feel like I was spinning and constantly feel like I was a failure.”
This a such a simple, powerful observation — and it goes far beyond book launches.
We work so hard. But we rarely measure our effort against a specific goal.
As a result, we give ourselves no sense of progress.
And if we have no sense of progress, how can we ever feel at rest?
Which made me wonder…
What if we defined success every day?
When we think of “success”, we often think big and broad — a successful life, a successful career, the culmination of years of work.
But success can be also measured in smaller ways. We are always working towards something — some current project, some specific goal.
Ask yourself: “What does success look like to me today?”
I bet you have an answer. Maybe it’s making headway on one project, finishing a smaller one, and responding to a few time-sensitive needs.
Next, ask yourself: “What does success look like this week?”
Again, I’m sure you have an answer. Maybe some things need to be finished by Friday, or at least in better shape.
Now you have an objective to measure your efforts against. Which means you can check in on your progress.
You can ask things like:Am I on track for this week’s goal? Which of these five priorities are done? If I step away, will they still be on track?
Yes, yes, and yes? Then put the computer down and take a breath.
Here’s how that made my week better.
I’m writing this newsletter from Toronto, where I traveled for a speaking gig. I landed in the afternoon and had a few hours free.
I have a friend in town. He offered to round up a few of his friends for coffee and cookies. (He’s really into cookies.) And at first I thought: That sounds great, but maybe I should get some work done instead…
On many other trips, I just work nonstop — arriving in a new city, going to the hotel, and pecking away at the computer until night.
But this time, I stopped and thought: What are my goals this week?
I thought about the things I needed to do. I accounted for which of them are done, or on track. And I realized: I’m in good shape. Things are moving. Goals are achievable. Plenty of time for cookies.
So I went. My friend bought a lot:
We all had a blast — and even talked about how we all wish we stepped away from work more, but often don’t feel able to. But we did that day. I made new friends as a result. It was a highlight of my week.
And this is available to you too.
People often say you must “make the time” for things — but I don’t like that. How do you make the time? At a time factory?
No. Here’s what you do: You use the time. Because you already have it! These hours are already yours. They always have been. But if can’t recognize this, then your time will never truly feel like your own. So set your goals. Envision your success. Move towards it.
And then, on a very regular basis, step back and ask yourself: Am I on track? Yes? Then how else can I use this time?
That’s how to do one thing better.
P.S. Miss last week’s newsletter? It was about how to feel calmer if anxiously waiting for someone. Read!
P.P.S. Want more on launching books and setting goals? On our podcast, Nicole and I helped a new author decide what’s worth doing — and what’s not. Listen!
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