2022 New Year’s Goals (vs. What I Actually Spend My Time On… Gold Rush, I’m Looking at You.)

I know this is going to come as a shock but I’ve been thinking about simplification. 

At first I was dazzled by the genius of such a profound thought and then I remembered… It’s January. I get this brilliant idea every year when temperatures in my area hit 2 degrees.

“There must be a better way. Why does everything have to be so hard?! I must simplify!”

You throw in a quick round of, “I should probably lose a few pounds. Kale is delicious!” and you have a clear picture of my life every January. 

But back to my story…

Why Simplifying Is Shockingly Hard

My freelance marketing and copywriting friends are thinking in terms of, “How can I streamline my processes to simplify my life?” 

Why? Because they deal with multiple clients at once. 

The chaos of constantly onboarding, offboarding, learning the processes, and doing great work for every company is more complexity than anyone should have to handle. 

Add in the temptation to offer a thousand services, just because you can, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

On the other hand, my in-house marketing friends are thinking in terms of, “How can our team manage the thousand things we have to do for our one client… us?” 

Why? There’s no need to worry about the getting-to-know-you portion of the show so we can get right on with the next natural temptation of making everything more challenging and more complicated. 

But just because that’s the natural temptation doesn’t mean we have to go that route.

Which begs the question…

Are we bringing the value, if we’re not making things as complicated as possible?

And that’s where the two worlds collide. Both freelancers and in-house marketers are secretly wondering, “Are we doing enough?”

Here’s where this line of thinking goes sideways.

There’s no correlation between the concepts of doing a lot and providing value.

Said another way, there’s no rule that says you’re automatically more valuable just because you do a lot of things.

There are other ways to demonstrate value.

For example…

My Fascination With the Show Gold Rush

I spend way too many hours watching Gold Rush, a reality TV show about gold mining in the Klondike. 

Here’s the setup: men, dirt, big machines, and things constantly going wrong. Will they get the gold? Watch to find out.

Hint: They either get the gold or they don’t. End scene.

So what would value mean to them?

Efficiency… running more dirt through an optimized wash plant with fewer breakdowns.

Strategy… knowing how and where to find the best dirt.

Wisdom… knowing how much of the bedrock to run versus the risk of the sharp rocks ripping up the machines.

And of course, the simplest value of all… getting the gold.

But do you know what I never see on the show? Things that have nothing to do with the ultimate goal of getting the gold.

For instance, I never see anyone start a vegetable garden or knit a scarf.

It’s ridiculous, of course. But when you think of all the things that a person could do with their time, it’s interesting to note how many of the tasks naturally line up with the biggest value.

How to Discover Your Own Biggest Value And Set Goals That Simplify Your Life

So if you find yourself saying, “What can I do to simplify my life this year?”

Here are my suggestions:

1- Look at the stuff you do every day.

2- Take a guess at what your behavior implies about your goals.

3- Compare your behavior (implied goals) with your stated goals.

4- Make adjustments as necessary.

Why am I suggesting starting with your actions instead of a New Year’s resolution or SMART goal?

Resolutions and SMART goals aren’t necessarily grounded in reality.

Because of that, they add more complexity instead of simplifying things. A sure recipe for stress and failure.

Example: The Freelancer Who Needs Clients

A quick example, think of a freelancer who needs more clients but spends their time on continuing education instead of outreach.

The actions show they value education.

But education isn’t the most efficient (ie: simple or valuable) way to get more clients. It’s actually one of the hardest ways. 

They’d be better off focusing on outreach.

So the question becomes: Could they use their passion for education to become excellent at outreach itself?

It certainly would help them get clients, which would simplify many things in their life, including the finances.

This is just one example, but the implications are profound.

It comes down to this simple thought experiment:

  • What am I doing now? 
  • If I keep doing it, where will that lead me? 
  • Do I like that outcome? 
  • If not, what could I do that’s slightly different?

Make adjustments and go from there.

What does this process have to do with building your membership community? 

Your ability to simplify and be more efficient gives you more bandwidth and energy to grow and connect with your community, which is a wonderful goal for 2022.