Crashing in the Right Lane

Looking back on eight years of Google Analytics data, I must admit: Four Minute Books had a pretty fortuitous rise to fame. For the first three and a half years, traffic only went up and to the right. Then came the hangover, and it would take another three years to surpass the prior monthly visitor-high.

The reason this was a special kind of luck is that, after year one, I didn’t work nearly as hard on it as I could have. I published new summaries weekly instead of daily. I hired people and outsourced the work, and in some cases, that led to lower-quality results. To still grow despite these failings was a gift — but of course it’s one I can only appreciate in hindsight.

I may be in a similar spot now, another hangover after a previous high, but this time, there’s a difference: I crashed in the right lane. Rather than flying blind, I was driving full speed ahead on the fast track. It just so happened that, like always, living in the fast lane can never last — but when I crashed, at least I was in the right place.

In the months leading up to the traffic drop, I published like a madman. I checked off milestones on Trello left, right, and center. I went all-in while the wind was in my sails, and now that the tide has turned, I can slow down. I can reassess. I’ll have to, quite frankly. And then, when smoother seas present themselves, the cycle can start anew.

We all hit walls at speed sometimes. Without rock bottom, there can be no top of the world. The question is were we on the right track to begin with? Did someone cut us off in traffic, brake too hard in front of us, or run a red light that forced us to suddenly stop? Or did we get hit en route to a dead end? Were we even driving?

It’s easy to blame misfortune no matter when it happens, but if you’re clueless about your situation too, the road to recovery will be much longer. Keep going in the right lane, and remember that crashing is just a part of becoming a seasoned driver.