I had breakfast this morning with someone who is pursuing a freelancer career in data analytics. This person was a bit discouraged by the lack of project work this month after a busy last month.
We explored what he did to get projects to work on. What was his conversion rate of how many leads he had to “chase” in order to be picked for one project. Then he shared with me that he didn’t keep track of much detail during this waiting period about the leads he inquired about and showed interest in.
What became obvious to me was that his efforts at getting project work were essentially random. He put in effort, but there was no evidence of a system or feedback for him to learn from either his mistakes or things that did not have much impact.
My mind drifted to how many times I “spun” my wheels going nowhere. Not paying attention to the details, the process or having to do things methodically, led to poor results. Blaming bad luck for not seeing any payoff from my efforts. When in reality, I was the problem.
People talk about the need for preparation. Others talk about organization. Many talk about effort. Some talk about serendipity through repeated networking & exposure. All ways, they say, to become more successful.
At a more fundamental level, I now believe that you must have a process that outlines the steps needed to get you from point A to point B in many varied situations. Steps that require enough discipline for you to follow. All the way to the end. Good or bad in order for you to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Being able to embrace the small steps and to keep from being seduced into only trying to achieve the big ones. To look back, as you go through each step, and assess was it what you expected or not. Then making the necessary changes before trying again.
Disciplined feedback, by being aware of where you are within a series of steps, is key to personal growth and realistic self assessment. Making tweaks to the process each time you go through it. Slowly building some success and then doing the same steps over again. It’s a good way to achieve consistency in both effort and results.
Making it look easy from the outside. Knowing well the power of the sequence of steps you have recognized as necessary, to keep you moving forward on your journey.
Reminding us, that it takes a lifetime to build one’s life story that can never be written in a day.