Being on mission is not easy. Let's get personal. Five years ago I wrote a post about how you can really paint yourself into a corner. The subject was the possible price of success, and whether you are willing to pay it.
Back then I was a big fish in a small pond. Online marketing was still in its infancy and people looked to me for direction. Of course I was not the only person nor even one of the most prominent people in the industry, but I was a lot more visible than I am today. In the time since, the marketplace has become overrun with shouting, unskilled marketers: when the barrier to entry is the cost of a Facebook ad at pennies a click, anyone can claim expertise and draw leads into a funnel.
Let me be clear: I was around in this field when Facebook ads did not exist. I remember when advanced targeting for Facebook ads came out...and I remember because it was painful. I had just blown through $3000 in a week doing the incredibly sinful thing of sending traffic directly to a conversion tool. (Don't do that. Leadgen has never been my thing. I'm a Conversion guy and now hire smarter people to handle Traffic generation.)
At any rate having seen the 2014 article it got me wondering where my thinking about success and the price to be paid for success is at today.
The Evolution of Being On Mission
I have seen many "flash in the pan" marketers appear, make a splash, and then vanish back into the murk as quickly as they arrived.
I have witnessed many people become the temporary darling of the marketing world (ah, to be that individual again as I was for a time in 2012), the golden boy who is the shiny object that will fix all problems...and watched as they, too, either submerged never to appear again or instead elevated to guru status and became one of the old boys of the IM field.
I saw Frank Kern capitalize on his "surfer dude" persona...only to change it a few years later via a snazzy square haircut and suiting up, and become the President of the Internet. And good for him: while I don't slavishly follow his initiatives I do believe he generally wants to help people, and does know what works.
There are young marketers today who don't know who Frank is.
They don't recognize the name Dan Kennedy, either.
You don't have to, of course: it's not a prerequisite to have studied the past to be successful in the future.
I have become a small fish in a vast ocean.
Being On Mission and Your Definition of Success
Success to me means something different than it did five years ago. Back then it was largely about dominating the marketplace...being the go-to guy for answers on Conversion topics. Ensuring that as much of the traffic as I could get was drawn my way. I knew I was in the best position to help those folks.
A hell of a lot of "Tall Poppy Syndrome" was going on in and around that marketplace at the time. Some people just couldn't stand it that someone else was doing better than they were. Occasionally some of these individuals raise their heads and bray, unconscious of the fact that I have long since moved on and they have not. If you intend to be successful, you will have to put up with this kind of nonsense.
Which reminds me: an aside. Something I have noted about hate is that everyone squeals. When they are not the subject, they will tell you, "Be cool; water off a duck's back." But when it's their turn as the target, when the cannons are turned upon them, they squeal as loudly as everyone else.
Back to the price of success. When your personal definition of success has changed, the price to be paid changes.
Much of that price for me personally is encapsulated in this question: "Who should get my time?"
I suppose this question was hidden in the background half a decade ago as well. But it is most prominent today.
The Ongoing Results of Being On Mission And The Meaning of Success
In pursuit of answering this question I have expanded and raised the level of my circle. These decisions have forced me to stop pursuing some things I have been good at in favor of others I am not so good at...yet. And on an almost daily basis I have had to confront the "Can I really do this?" question.
As your circle of control and influence expands, you'll be running up against problems that are larger than anything you've ever tried to handle before.
My 2014 problems were centered around straightforward sales & marketing.
My 2019 problems are centered around often-undefined subjects of attention and focus.
My concept of the system I'm operating in has moved from closed to open.
The problems I see today are frequently overwhelming: considerations about the future and how human life will be, what to do about serious problems we face today, how we can use technology in ethical ways to solve those problems.
Data science and philosophy have bubbled up to the top.
It has been said that character is who you are when no one is looking.
And it goes both ways. Megatron is "on mission" regardless of whether the world is watching or not.
What does success mean to you? And what price are you willing to pay for it?