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Track progress over goals
I'm not sure I ever achieve my goals, but I'm always making and looking back on my progress
TLDR; The world and our own ideas change too fast to make and achieve very specific goals. We’re normally bound to miss the mark.
I feel like when I was younger that at least we had time to plan for the world, these days, I’m not so sure. Everything is changing so fast, it makes no sense to plan too far ahead.
Do I have goals?
Yes sure. I’m working on Rosieland (community building). Indiependent (what you are reading and a community on the side). I previously built Ministry of Testing to 7 figures (and I still co-own it). My heart is also is un-education and local communities, there’s so much potential there that I’m slowly finding ways to dip my toes in.
Within each of these I have loose goals of what I’d like to achieve. Some of it is around money in the bank or MRR, other stuff is about personal growth or creativity.
I’m very guilty of changing my mind constantly. Or I have ideas that I know need time to explore and evolve into something. I love having my fingers in many pies, so to speak. But maybe it’s not just about doing many things, I think maybe it’s the fact that so much in life overlaps and I can see room for building upon things I’ve already done, have some kind of unique insight or motivation in.
There is also the added perspective that everything I learn or do comes with my current understanding and world views. For example, anything education related that I explore, I always have the lense of community. This helps me create something different as not many people are really combining the two things in the way I’m thinking.
As a consequence of all of this, I don’t follow the general wisdom of focusing on that one thing. My heart wanders, and allowing it to wander keeps energised. For better or worse.
My goals look something like:
Satisfying my heart: Being neurodivergent, I realise I just have to focus on things that truly interest me. I just can’t do things that aren’t aligned with my interests (or obsessions 😅). Part of my downfall in this is wanting to do to much.
Creating an impact: I realise as indiependents we can make a difference and it doesn’t have to be through software creation. We can find our way through various business models, SaaS is just one of them, and probably the most complex and hardest to make it in.
Avoiding what doesn’t align with what I enjoy: For example, I’m not sure if I’m cut out to make SaaS as an indie. I think I’d rather created web assests—websites that make money through other means.
Creating financial independence: I’m kinda there. I’m kind of not. There’s still lots of “ifs”. And the deaths of businesses are often outside of our control. So in the meantime, I’m going to keep rustling. There’s no denying that more money makes life easier and it opens the doors to potential new projects…which means greater impact.
Being a representative voice: a woman, a (reckless) mother, neurodivergent, indie founder, community builder, an unschooler, non-believer in the system.
But the numbers are always changing. Perhaps because we pushed the limit with 5 kids and that limits us elsewhere. Maybe because of COVID. Maybe because of inflation. Maybe because of tech layoffs / recession. Maybe climate crisis changes our perspective on what is important. Maybe because house renovation cost more than we wanted. Maybe simply because we get accustomed to what we have and our aspirations change.
Instead of goals, track and celebrate progress
Goals often feel binary, you achieve them, or you don’t.
Whereas with progress you can find stories wherever you go. You can go back weeks, months, years and remember where you were at that point in time and compare it to where you are now. You can see the hard and good times. You can see your personal and business growth.
You can make progress without giving yourself a hard time that you haven’t achieved a specific target. The showing up is what brings long term wins, focusing more on the showing up, rather than the results has a higher chance of helping you succeed.
You can choose to look at any bit of context or data and observe your own progress.
Personally, I can see it:
in the house we own now compared to 10 or 15 years ago
in the photos we take
in the fact that two of my kids are now ‘adults’
in the stubbornness of sticking to our unschooling lifestyle
with the less debt (or more assets) we have
with an increase in followers
in my subscribers going up
in my revenue going up
the lives we financially support
Some of it easy to track, other bits not so much and require reflection. But at the end of the day, it’s about looking at ourselves and understanding how we’ve progressed. And importantly, not comparing it to other people.
It’s not always what you add to help you get to your goals, it’s also what you choose to take away. Less is more too.
And honestly, I’m pretty proud of the progress I have made, I can see it all around me.
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