The Definition of Success
Recently, I sent out a newsletter and discussed updates and changes in my podcast. Some of the changes were based on having the podcast for over 3 ½ years and putting in a lot of time and effort. Compound Interest is working for me. Some changes were statistics and analytics — I love the black and white of stats as they just truly are. There isn’t necessarily a good or bad, just a barometer of where you are currently compared to where you were and where you want to be.
Podcasts are a unique platform. The actual, complete, for-real, honest statistics are nearly impossible to come by. There is no clear and certain way to gather accurate information across all of the places they are distributed. The statistics I posted were based on Spotify, which is connected to my podcast host and automatically generates annually. It’s an accurate depiction - but limited exclusively to Spotify specific statistics only.
The analytics showed my podcast growth this year, and the numbers had most definitely improved, which is something to be proud of. Spotify looked at the information from several vantage points, and I was excited and pleased with the information.
I have two goals with my newsletter: to provide value and to interact. It stands to reason if I’m providing value, people will engage one on one, and it is my absolute favorite inbox message when people respond, telling me how they are doing. It was unexpected and a bit surprising that some of the feedback triggered me negatively with this newsletter.
“It’s wonderful to see how SUCCESSFUL you are.”
A phrase I heard several times in different ways made me look hard at my success views and why the word triggered me negatively. Success seems to be determined predominantly in two ways: Money and Numbers. I see that as a popularity competition where you are paid. Not at all, how I want anyone to view my business, podcast, coaching, speaking, etc.…
While it’s true that being paid is often a standard exchange in business, and there is an inability to make a difference in the lives of people unless they know who you are, there is so much more to success than those two criteria.
First, let’s look at what success does not need to be about - and how to flip the script on how we determine how success feels:
Other people’s level of expectations or achievements
In the podcast example, the goal doesn’t need to be downloads, audience size, or comparing yourself to another person’s perceived success. You aren’t necessarily sharing the same goals with other people, and it’s highly probable you don’t know their entire story.
Putting people above or below where you’re at
There is most likely someone (or multiple people) who are ranked higher than you, and there are also people just starting out. Comparing yourself to where you have been and where you are going is a better barometer of success than where you believe other people are at
With the belief that money is simply a form of energy passed between people, money is ONE way of exchange between two people. Although paying bills is a necessity, there are many ways to exchange energy. Exchange of products, services, or information, shout-outs, shares to social media platforms, etc., are all examples of an equitable exchange. Sticking with the podcast example, if guests share their episode, subscribe, and leave a review, it helps exponentially - the same goes for listeners. That kind of compound interest (small actions that add up over time) goes a long way in growth.
Social media, statistics, and/or numbers
Stats are a way to track where you are at to determine that growth is occurring. Growth means your audience is getting larger, and the message is reaching more people, which sounds like a good thing unless we consider it may be better to have fewer, more connected followers than a large audience. Someone I know has a podcast for people with fibromyalgia. The numbers may seem low, but the following is strong.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and Mark Twain said, “Comparison is the death of joy.”
Truer words have never been spoken. I realized my negative triggering was due to comparison, and my feelings of wanting more - in numbers or financial gain - was desired to somehow prove to myself that I was worthy of the word success.
When I evaluated the trigger, I took a deep dive into the reasons I started the podcast and some barometers for success that have nothing to do with money or numbers.
Provide content that helps other people and makes a positive difference
Help people feel less alone in their struggles - knowing there is someone who understands them.
Provide tools, tips, tricks, etc.… for listeners to build a bigger toolbox to get through personal struggles faster, easier, and more supported.
The message that every person’s story is relevant and deserves to be shared
Guests come from referrals, repeat interviews, word of mouth.
Interaction with people and companies/agencies outside of the podcast as a direct result of the podcast
Growth over time of statistics, number of interview requests, interactions with people
As I considered my original goals, without the “noise” of how other people might gauge success, I realized that all I really needed to do was say, “Thank you.”
See the article on the digital magazine here
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