Remember kindergarten? For every goal you reached, like writing your name or finally spelling C-A-T, you got a gold star or a new pencil.
In grade school, there were Principal Awards and End of Year Prizes. In college, you earned certificates of merit, achievement prizes, and academic scholarships. Even in the nine-to-five grind, it’s still possible to earn Employee of the Month or some token of esteem for 10 years of service.
But not online.
Online, there’s no reward of excellence. There’s no teacher giving you a gold star to prove you’re good at what you do. There’s no certificate of merit to show everyone you’re good enough.
So what did we do? We made up our own.
The “I’m Good Enough” Award
There are thousands of people out there competing for this award. Few of them realize that’s what they’re doing, but they’re working hard to complete all the requirements. The requirements have not, to date, been formally written down, but we’re going to solve that right now so that any confusion can be avoided.
The “I’m Good Enough” Award is granted to all online entrepreneurs who are worthy of running a business. They may do so by demonstrating prowess in each of the following three categories.
First, all candidates must have an overflowing inbox.
Since the number of emails clearly directly correlates to a business’ success, it follows that any successful business will be forced to handle an enormous amount of mail. Proof of inbox overflow may be demonstrated through various social media channels over time.
It starts with complaints about too many emails to handle. Then a couple of tweets about blocking off a day to get rid of all this email. Then there’s the countdown to Inbox Zero – which will happen several times a month.
Next comes writing a blog post about email-management strategies.
Finally, there’s the declaration you’re going minimalist. You’re unsubscribing from a ton of stuff, setting up auto-responders and even refusing to reply to new mail.
It’s very impressive stuff – surely deserving of an award, no? All thriving businesses have too much email, so doesn’t it follow that having too much email indicates a thriving business is at work?
Second, all candidates must be exhausted.
All candidates must show that they are utterly exhausted by the sheer bulk of the work in front of them. Since lots of work clearly equals achievement, the candidate is clearly due recognition for becoming so busy.
Candidates may demonstrate their qualifications in the form of social media.
You write on Facebook that you’re swamped with coaching calls. Your schedule is packed. And there aren’t enough hours in a day. You’re overworked. And you’re loving it! You leave a steady stream of comments that go something like this:
“Can’t stay! Gotta get back to work. Got people’s lives to transform!”
Third, all candidates must demonstrate a vast knowledge base.
Obviously it would be too difficult to simply ask questions in your area of expertise, so candidates must show they are actively acquiring knowledge through such track-able mediums as seminars, conferences, e-courses, and so forth.
The more the candidate participates in these mediums, the more qualified they are considered to be.
You attend every conference, sign up for every seminar, buy every ecourse and show up for every free webinar. You consume education voraciously and read hundreds of blogs, hoping to find that missing piece of knowledge that’ll shoot you to business big times.
Of course, you don’t actually apply any of this knowledge to your business – you’re too busy hoping that merely appearing in the forums or on the call will somehow mean you get noticed and elevated to superstar status.
Why Do We Pursue This Award?
It’s completely empty, after all. Our followers aren’t interested in how busy we are, what webinar we’ve signed up for, or what we learned reading someone else’s blog. None of that information makes us more hire-able or even more of an expert in our field.
It doesn’t earn us respect, and it certainly doesn’t bring in business. So why are so many of us in full-on pursuit of the “I’m Good Enough” Award?
I know why I did it.
I wanted to know that I mattered. I wanted to know that I was valued. I wanted to know that someone noticed me.
I thought if someone saw how busy, how in-demand, how committed I was, my business would automatically be considered successful. Instead, I got this pointed question:
“Are you in business? Or are you just busy?”
Not quite the accolade I was looking for. More like a slap in the face.
But it was what I needed to realize something very important about online success:
There is no “I’m Good Enough” Award.
It’s not about how busy you are, how many emails you received or how many blogs you read.
The only measure an online business needs is the bank balance. The only score you need to keep is whether you are making more money then you are spending.
All the rest is just noise, and keeping you away from what is really important – your business.
Wait a minute, you may be thinking. What about doing a job I enjoy? What about the clients who love me and shout their adoration from the rooftops? What about the quality of the work I do?
These things are all important to you personally and professionally, but they are not what makes you successful as a businessperson – and you shouldn’t mistake them as such. You could have a hundred grateful clients, a job you love, and work you’re proud of – but if you haven’t made a dime off of any of it, you don’t have a business.
You just have a lot of work.
You don’t need someone to tell you that you’re doing great. You don’t need anyone to say how proud they are that you got a new client. You don’t need to compete with your peers over who has the fullest inbox or the most extensive feed reader.
Your certificate of achievement comes every time you get payment from a client. See that big number? That’s your gold star.
That’s how you know you’re no longer just busy – you’re in business.