There’s work that needs to be completely urgently.
And then there’s work that we can put off, seemingly indefinitely.
The life of the creative is paved with scenarios like that.
But what we don’t acknowledge is that the work we put off might hold the key to our next breakthrough.
The “boring” is worth giving some attention to. It’s where you have the potential to see the greatest growth.
Where I Feel Like I’ve Fallen Short
What strikes me as sexy, at least in my world, is content, traffic, and product development.
Content tends to come first in my day, if only because I’ve made a commitment to publishing daily and because I have staff writing duties to carry out.
I’ve been trying to put product development first in my day because I know that’s where the greatest return is going to come from. Some days I’m successful, some days I’m not.
To be honest, there are times when product development can seem boring to me. But that’s because it’s time-consuming and intensive work.
But what I’ve recently come to realize is that I find the following business tasks the most boring. Things like:
- Understanding my target audience better
- Keyword research
- Competitive research
- Content audit
I’m knowledgeable and well-versed in every one of these areas but have had trouble bringing myself to work on them consistently.
Which isn’t to say I should be doing it all myself. But since I haven’t experienced any breakthroughs by focusing on content, traffic, and products, maybe the step forward I’m looking for is in engaging the boring.
I’ve Already Started the Grind
This realization about the “boring” occurred to me last week.
I was watching my business coach in action from a 2009 presentation, and what I saw was just how diligent and thorough he was in research and gathering information to determine whether a business had the potential to be profitable.
Let me restate. This was in 2009! Holy.
We’re in 2021 now, and no matter the niche, no matter the audience, things are more competitive than they’ve ever been! You’ve got to bring your A-game, bro.
I’ve never claimed to win a high school popularity contest (which is pretty much how social media, online business, and even music has occurred to me at times), and I don’t think I’m about to. So, that means I’ve got to build a tribe that resonates with me specifically, even if it’s a small one.
(By the way, I do feel I could change my context around this “high school popularity contest” business and would even benefit from doing so.)
Anyway, waffle as I do, the grind has already begun for me. As we speak, I’ve started dedicating some time to pruning and optimizing my content at Music Entrepreneur HQ, my lovechild (over 800 pages…).
And this means combing through Google Analytics for pages that haven’t gotten much traffic in the past year and figuring out why that’s the case (oftentimes it’s just because of a missing or broken image, though there are some low-quality posts that I’m upgrading or pruning).
I already know that this is nowhere near as important as creating an offer that converts and developing a sales process for it. That said, I have multiple products just waiting to be launched, and that makes no difference if there isn’t an audience there to buy them.
I’ve spent 12 years building an audience. What’s funny is that I’ve changed a lot in those 12 years, and whoever is still with me has had to endure that roller-coaster ride.
Maybe it’s too much to expect that they’d still be with me. Only a small number still are…
Like I said, I’m not winning any popularity contests.
What Have You Been Avoiding?
Again, I drone on.
But this post is about you and what you’ve been avoiding.
What is something that has been showing up as boring in your world?
What is something that deep down you know you haven’t been giving the attention it deserves?
It might even be something that occurs to you as a total mess (just as Music Entrepreneur HQ does to me).
We are all in a dance with how things occur to us…
But maybe there’s a breakthrough waiting for you in that very area.
Like a to-do list with tasks, you never seem to get around to or even want to touch…
It’s human to move towards the comfortable. Move away from the uncomfortable.
But there’s something magical about the uncomfortable.
When you finally tend to it, you may find that it isn’t a big deal after all. You may find that it only takes a few seconds to do. Even if it takes longer, you may find that it’s not as hard as you thought it would be.
Some suspense may follow your actions (e.g., like if you were cold calling an influencer), but the task itself might not be the mountain you’ve made of it.
In my coaching efforts, I like to poke and prod in this area, just as I did on The Unstarving Musician podcast a couple years back.
Because maybe the next breakthrough you’re looking for isn’t going to come from doing more of the same.
Like if you were a writer and thought that one more article was going to make all the difference (in my experience, it’s not…).
Your next breakthrough may come from seemingly unrelated areas in your life that you haven’t addressed. Things like:
- Having that difficult conversation with your significant other you’ve been putting off
- Owning up to that money you didn’t mean to keep but did anyway
- Clearing up a white lie you told to a friend because you just didn’t want to be around them
- Following through on a commitment you’ve made (to yourself, your child, friend, boss, or otherwise)
Whatever you’ve been avoiding, chances are, there’s something there.
You’ve been avoiding the “boring” work for a reason.
Some part of it strikes you as tedious, cumbersome, repetitive…
But it might just be where your next breakthrough comes from.
After all, insanity is doing the same things expecting different results, right?
So, maybe if you went and did something that’s outside of your ordinary routine, you’d begin to produce different results. Maybe it’s exactly where you should be putting some of your attention.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
Pay what you want for the first issue of my digital magazine, The Renegade Musician.
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