“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” — Andy Rooney
My friends always ask me how Sources of Insight is doing, and numbers are always interesting, so this is just a quick update. Sources of Insight is now at 210,000 unique visitors a month.
I wanted to see if this was a pattern, and it’s been two months in a row, so it seems like that’s the case.
It’s been slow and steady growth, but accelerating this past year. Last year, in April of 2012, I broke 101,000. Then in July, I hit 150,000. By October, I was at 175,000 unique monthly visitors. In Jan of 2013, I broke 210,000.
I’ve learned a lot about growing a site, though I haven’t actually done most of the things that I know I should do. Not yet, anyway.
To truly grow the blog, I would do the bulk of the basics: guest post on relevant blogs, build a mailing list, give away a freebie of great value for sign-ups, create a compelling Fan page, connect with key people in my niche, use Twitter, do more SEO, etc.
That said, I have done some of these to some degree. I have done a couple of select guest posts. I have changed how I title my posts to closer match what people are actually looking for, so SEO has helped me become more relevant. I have given away a lot of free value. In fact, what surprised me is that I’ve had several readers ask me why I don’t provide a donation button or charge for more things. In fact, a few were actually really frustrated. I tell them, someday.
Mostly, I focus on helping people solve real and relevant problems. I try to write content that is actionable and insightful and helps people grow their ability to respond to the challenges they face. I focus on helping people tune the skills that they already have, as well as grow new ones, and expand what they are capable of. I’m a big believer that life’s better with skill. That’s why I share “skills to pay the bills and lead a better life.”
As a result, Sources of Insight grows through Word-of-Mouth, and through SEO. Thank you everyone for helping spread the word, and for helping Sources of Insight be a more valuable resource through your feedback and commentary.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Slow and steady often wins the race. It sounds so cliché, and yet it’s a habit that holds a lot of truth. Here is a snapshot of the traffic for the month of February, 2013:
While I’m a big believer in rapid results, I also believe in finding a sustainable pace. I’m also a believer in enjoying the journey and finding ways to make things get better, faster, and cheaper over time, not more painful, slower, and more costly over time.
It takes strategy.
It also takes experimentation. I do lots of mini-experiments to test and see what actually works, and to slowly build new skills. Learn and respond. While it might seem like a marathon on the outside, it’s more like a series of little sprints on the inside. It’s these little sprints that actually create the appearance of slow and steady over time.
It also takes focusing on flowing value, and connecting to your own values. I value growth and excellence. If that doesn’t shine through, then the site slowly dies. If I make the journey about growth and excellence, then I build sustainable momentum, and it slowly grows. I also focus on low-hanging fruit and quick hits. I keep an active punch-list of little things I can do to raise the bar, and either to flow more value to you, or simplify my administration, management, and creation on my end, so that it’s easier to keep going.
Reinvention is the Name of the Game
I’ve been making lots of little changes to Sources of Insight over time. Reinventing yourself and your site is a way to stay fresh, and a way to renew your focus. The renewal process is where you find new and better ways to flow value and uncork what you’re capable of. I constantly have to hack away at the unessential, and get back to the basics, and look for the pains, needs, and opportunities that people want Sources of Insight to help them with.
While the heart of Sources of Insight is firmly rooted in principles, patterns, and practices for personal effectiveness, there are plenty of ways to focus on that. For example, I’ve spent a lot of time helping people “stand on the shoulders of giants” by drawing from great books, great people, and great quotes. That’s more of the “timeless wisdom” path for personal effectiveness.
Another path is to focus on our changing world, and the skills it takes to grow, learn and adapt. I have spent some time helping people learn how to be “Agile for Life”, primarily with my book, Getting Results the Agile Way, but also through my articles here on Sources of Insight. Agility is a powerful thing. Some go so far as to say, “Adapt or die,” and Darwin taught us that nature favors the flexible. If you want to be effective, you have to adapt to your situation.
One path I haven’t spent enough time on yet is the principles, patterns, and practices themselves. While I have shared many, I can share so much more. I can fill your bag of tricks with a collection of proven practices that really do change your game. As the saying goes, “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. But if you have a large collection of principles, patterns, and practices to draw from, you become more resourceful and ready for anything that work or life might throw your way.
And life sure knows how to throw some curve balls.
Follow the Growth
If there’s one take away from all this that you can use as a way to think about how you grow your own blog or platform or capabilities, it’s this:
Follow the growth. That’s how you make the most of work and life.
Follow the growth in your industry or market. Follow the growth in your company. Follow your own growth. Go to places you haven’t gone before. Go to where your growth is greatest, and learn how to create amazing growth right under your feet.
A colleague asked me how I stay focused at work, and I told them that everyday I show up, I focus on learning something I can use to immediately improve my skills and abilities. I learn from everyone around me, and everything I do. I constantly challenge myself by asking, “If I ran the zoo, what would I do differently?” I’m always looking for ways to simplify, or make things better, faster, and cheaper. I’m also always looking for ways to make things more compelling, more impactful, and more meaningful. I’m also looking for ways to lift others up around me so that they grow in new ways that take them to the next level.
It’s a simple formula, but it works.
In fact, there’s a lot of research that shows progress equals happiness. Even if we haven’t yet reached our destination, as long as we are on path and making progress, we are more fulfilled. In fact, every time we reach our destination, one of the best things we can do is set out on a new adventure, and follow our growth.
Life is a series of adventures, and when you look at it this way, you are the author of your life and you are constantly writing your story forward.
Rather than think how you want you story to end, start with how you want your next story to begin. Life is a series of new beginnings.
Gear up, find your next challenge, get your game face on, and enjoy your journey of transformation.
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Image by bortescristian.