After nine months of hard work on a traffic plateau, my website finally picked up steam. In month ten, Google released an update and hammered me back to where I started within a week. Queue That’s Life by Sinatra.
When I set it last year, I knew picking a traffic goal wasn’t ideal, since it’s a number I don’t control. But it was a goal worth chasing, and so I went with it. As long as you’re making incremental progress towards an external, luck-dependent goal, everything feels fine. But when fate reminds you that you’re not in charge, your motivation will drop hard. When that inevitably happens, shift your focus. Find something to be proud of that will keep you going in the meantime.
In my case, though I no longer have the traffic and revenue to show for it, but I do have a Trello board with hundreds of completed tasks. Every month without fail, I published new content, wrote newsletters, and released Youtube videos. I put out dozens of great, in-depth, free resources that deserve every single visitor they get. Since Google’s latest update doesn’t change any of that, I can still take pride in what I have done — and then, I can roll up my sleeves and get back to work.
What’s that anonymous line again that I included in one of the many things I made this year? “Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” Sometimes, that courage needs a little boost from looking back at the things you controlled and controlled well. When the path ahead looks rocky, turn around, realize how far you’ve come, and then do what you always do: go on.