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Relax, You May Have Already Done the Work That Kickstarts Your Career
- Michael Thompson
On March 25th, 2019, I sat down at my computer, took a deep breath, and finally mustered up the courage to hit publish on an article I thought had the potential to fly. I’d spent days writing it. I must have asked a dozen people for feedback.
When I went to look at my stats, the following morning, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The article was airborne. It wasn’t going viral or anything. But compared to my previous articles, it was off to a good start. The next day, the views were still pointing in a positive direction. The third day, the same — up, up, up.
By the end of the week, the article hit 5,000 views. By the looks of its trajectory, it wasn’t about to slow down. But just as quickly as my hopes began to rise, the views began to fall. 24 hours later, the article flat-lined. I tried to breathe new life into it, but nothing I did could revive it. The article was as good as dead.
However, on September 9th, six months later, I checked my stats page and I couldn’t believe it — the article had a pulse. It hadn’t exactly jumped out of bed and put on her dancing shoes, but it was alive. The next day, it took a few steps. The day after that it began to jog. By the end of the week, the article was in a full out sprint. Thanks to getting 180 days of rest, her stamina was strong, and for the next 40 days, she didn’t miss a beat.
By the time the article finally started to lose her energy, it garnered close to 180,000 additional views. But that’s not all. A few days before Christmas, nine months after being published, it magically landed on a list of popular articles, and the next day I got an email about writing a book around the theme. Since then, it has been syndicated by Business Insider, and Microsoft News even mentioned it in a video, which has led to half a dozen coaching clients.
All from an article that I had basically forgotten about.
But this isn’t the only time this has happened. My most-read article, a month after being published, was shared by a big-name blogger in the U.S. while I was asleep in Spain. Thanks to her magic fingers it drove 150,000 views to the article in a matter of days and again led to more coaching clients. The same with my 2nd most viewed article. A well-respected publication asked me if they could re-run it months after I published the original.
But my story isn’t unique. Things like this happen every single day. My friend Stephen Moore wrote an article that didn’t move for four months. The last 90 days, however, it has gained him close to 200,000 views. The same thing happened just this week to my friend Danny Forest. He wrote an article he had high hopes for, but it didn’t take off. This week it has exploded and paid for a vacation he just booked.
I don’t know about you, but stories like these make me breathe a little easier. They remind me that maybe I am doing enough and I just need to give my work a little more time for the world to catch up.
Keep at It. You’re Doing Just Fine.
When I look at the career trajectory of the people I admire, one theme sticks out: they never stop making stuff. They don’t sit around feeling sorry for themselves if something they just made doesn’t immediately get met with praise. They sit down and do their work each day. They have the faith that by doing so every now and again the world will take notice.
We live in a magical time. In a matter of minutes, our work can connect with people all around the world. But we don’t always get to choose when that connection takes place. We may get lucky and our work immediately finds a home. Other times, however, it may take a little bit of time for our words to find the right conversation.
When I first started writing, a mentor of mine told me that we don’t get to choose the work that has the potential to put your name on the map. But we do get to choose whether or not we sit down each day and do the work.
I think of that often. Day after day. Word after word.
Consistency plus patience has a funny way of kick-starting our careers.