Originally posted 2017-01-30
Many people think there’s a secret formula for attracting an audience online. I hear from developers weekly who figure there’s some hack they haven’t discovered yet; a trick for making people care about their projects, apps, or blog posts. If you fall into that camp, I have some good news. There is a simple way to grow your audience. But it’s far from easy.
To build an audience for your work, you “simply” need to produce quality work and consistently share it with the world. That’s it.
But many developers, faced with a launch that failed to garner the attention it deserved, decide to give up. Worse, some walk away without finishing anything. Their hard drives are full of half-finished apps, book drafts, or designs. They get so close to the point where, with a bit more effort, they could have created something impactful.
In both cases, developers encounter resistance and think it means they’re on the wrong path. In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield says:
“Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”
Translation: The things we feel the most resistance toward doing are the very things we most need to do.
You will encounter failure, in the course of your career. Some of the greatest makers on Earth have experienced failure, many times over. Steven Spielberg was rejected from theater school on three separate occasions. Walt Disney got fired once, due to a “lack of imagination.”
People with real passion, who care deeply about their craft, refuse to be dissuaded by failure. Instead, they lick their wounds, get up out of the dirt, and try again. And again. And again. They show up, ready to do the work. Each and every day.
The only way to find your version of success is to keep producing work. Your career isn’t a single moment in time; it’s a collection of moments. Some moments bring failure; others will take you to heights you didn’t think possible. You have to go along for the ride, either way.
Lots of people like to talk a big game. They boast about the things they’re going to accomplish, the moves they’re going to make. Usually, they make these proclamations while everyone in the room rolls their eyes. It’s obvious they’re all talk and no action. You needn’t join their ranks.
The fact that most people give up so quickly is the reason you can be successful — if you’re willing to stick around longer than they do. Sharing your work with other people is scary. Trying new things is scary. Being vulnerable on a regular basis is downright frightening. But that’s how you’ll stand out — by doing the things that scare others away.
You can push through resistance to create something great. But you need to make a conscious decision to fight on a daily basis; to have the grit to keep showing up — each and every day.
Until next time,