As much as making a massive change in your life is great, some times the best thing to do is to not share that. Instead it’s better to show people the finished product. Today I share my experiences of being open about every move I make to realizing it’s better to be silent and how that changed my view of business and my work.
“Never tell anyone your next move.”
If I read that a few years ago, I probably would’ve laughed at the statement. It made absolutely no sense to me why we need to be silent about stuff.
When someone goes through a change in their life or they are making a decision in their life naturally they want to be talking about it, right?
It was this kind of logic that I used when I first started to share monthly goals in March 2015. I wrote an article and I even made a video every month talking about my goals, progress, everything.
In essence, I was talking about every move that I was going to make with my business and with my life.
Over the nearly three years I’ve been doing this, I made a lot of mistakes. But one of the biggest ones was the fact I was so public about everything for the vast majority of my business’s life.
It’s a mistake fora variety of reasons. It’s why I’m writing this article.
To share those experiences so that you don’t follow in those specific footsteps I made.
If you are one of those people who shares their goals or their intentions in an article or a video, I’m asking you to stop.
Stop for your own sake.
Your Next Moves Aren’t Your Dreams
Before we get too far in, I want you to understand the difference between next moves and dreams.
By all means, share your dreams with others. After all, when we share visions — the bigger picture — we are allowing people to become aware of what they are getting involved in.
My overall vision is to help people live a positive life.
I’d like people to gather around that idea.
A positive life in my mind is running a successful business that provides the freedom to make experiences and memories. As such, I write about that.
However I know better than to share the specific steps I’m taking to get to that position. At least for this point in time in my life.
It’s those specific steps that I am saying to not share.
These can be your short term monthly or weekly goals, to even long-term yearly goals. When you share those you share your next move, and that’s a mistake.
It’s a mistake for a number of reasons.
You Position Yourself As A Talker And Not An Action-Taker
You remember the saying:
“You’re all talk and no bite.”
Well when you share your goals in a public fashion, you may become that kind of person.
It’s incredibly easy to say anything, but the challenging part is actually following through.
You might think that’s not possible, especially when you have a why and have some solid goals that you can commit to. But I feel at that moment where you share your next move with other people there is a public element.
In essence, you become far more committed to pleasing your audience.
This doesn’t sound all that bad leaders and entrepreneurs are supposed to be serving the people.
But pleasing your audience is a little different. It’s ensuring that everyone that you come in contact with with your business is happy with you.
In essence you become a people pleaser, but only to the certain group you attract.
Depending on the person they’ll react differently but there is one constant element in all this. Your goals will become twisted and shift from “How can I grow?” to “What attracts more people and how can I get them to stay?”
For myself my goals almost immediately became an event in my head. I made goals I thought were important, but led me no where.
Not to mention I couldn’t build momentum because I was switching my goals every month.
I was inconsistent and created fake business for myself.
As an entrepreneur I get that we are supposed to serve other people. But the other thing to mindful of is that we are also a business.
And a business needs to make money. An entrepreneur won’t be making any money at all if they flopping about and making no real progress. That’s true because I did that up until early summer of this year (2017).
Guess where it got me?
Nowhere but a bunch of realizations that public goal setting is a bad idea when starting.
But naturally telling our next move does more than simply make us look bad.
You Lose Your Sense Of Self
You also lose your sense of self.
You lose your identity as soon as you tell people what your plan is for every step you take.
By all means, you can show other people your moves, but there needs to be context.
You can show your process of managing a company and watching it grow. Although avoid the direction and purpose of your business.
What I mean by purpose is the answer to “why did you make this business out of all the other businesses you could make?”
In other words your business’s identity.
In the end, a business is an extension of yourself. Your goals and your actions are of course the very same thing. As soon as you start sharing those specific things, you become predictable.
You do not want to become predictable.
As soon as you do, everything that you think is exciting or game changing will make little impact.
The reason for that is again there is a public element that you are considering.
Every move that you make has another question with it. Normally along the lines of “What does my audience think?”
That question doesn’t seem all that bad, but when you consider that question with every move, even the small changes, it can get frustrating. You can get locked into something that you might not enjoy yourself.
You’ll be stuck pleasing the audience.
An audience that will one day inadvertently expect you to fail for them.
I Went Silent
These two things I started to realize more and more the further I went to sharing my goals in public. Even though there weren’t many people who were reading those posts or my goal videos, I still felt a public presence in my goals.
The fact people could figure out my next moves very easily takes away the wonder of what exactly a person will do next.
Think about it.
Yes you can drop hints of what you might be doing or what you are working on. However it can leave people with more questions and excitement than knowing exactly what it is you are working on.
We have general ideas of what some people are doing.
Elon Musk might be working on an engine that can propel cars into the air.
Mark Zuckerberg might be striving to become a presidential candidate.
The thing is we can’t be certain.
Yes there are plenty of theories and hints that those two have dropped that suggest they are doing this.
But we can’t be certain until we hear it from their lips.
It’s for that particular reason that I went silent about my goals.
I refuse to tell people…
What I’ll be writing about next.
What video I’ll be making for Friday.
Where I’m focusing my attention on.
I only want to leave hints of what I MIGHT be doing.
Even if not many people know of me yet, I still value getting people excited about my work and what I’ll be doing next.
So it’s better for me to be quiet about it.
It’s something I believe others need to practice as well as it can shift your perspective.
To give you an idea of the benefits of being silent and not telling your next move, consider this.
I joined Medium and started to commit to writing more around the time that I made the decision to stop sharing my goals publicly.
From that point, I grew as a writer. A few months later I joined forces with my sponsor, literally increasing my income from a few dollars a month to making a few hundred dollars a month.
To top it off I also became part of the Medium Partner Program which has increased my wealth as well.
I believe all these things wouldn’t have happened if I was still sharing my goals every month. I’d be sitting there thinking “I need to make money or some kind of progress” but never fully commit to something.
I wouldn’t have made the decisions that led me to meeting a wonderful group of writers, actually getting paid as a writer, but also growing as a writer and a person if I was still sharing every move I made.
My life wouldn’t have changed that dramatically unless I stopped talking and actually took action.
Consider that story.
I changed my life around all because I made the small decision to not tell people about my plans.
I didn’t say all that to gloat. My life literally turned for the better because I stopped caring about my audience (just a little bit) and started to look after myself.
I have confidence that when you drop little hints or say nothing at all, your life can change just as dramatically. Not only that, but it can excite your fans and grow your audience even more.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon