Don’t let the result be the goal

A bullseye dartboard with a dart near the middle

My favorite thing about interviewing creators is hearing the same philosophies or mindsets for different crafts.

I’ve sat down with YouTubers, founders, comedians, doctors, athletes, musicians, authors, and more. Here’s something they’ve all said.

“You have to enjoy what you’re doing. It’s okay to set goals and to want to make money. But if status, wealth, and success are your only driving factors, you won’t make it.”

Benjy Himmelfarb, a DC standup, said a comic’s first two years are just about getting comfortable on stage. As I’ve been interviewing YouTubers for my podcast, they’ve said the exact same thing.

When we start a new venture—a business, a new job, creating content—the beginning is mostly about figuring out how to get good and how to find our voice and styles. Nine times out of ten, the people who are doing the best are just the ones who’ve been doing the thing consistently and committedly.

Occasionally we see young phenoms who start crushing it immediately. But those are rare. We just think they’re everywhere because they get a ton of exposure.

Eric Rosen is one of the biggest names in the chess world and has 575k subscribers on YouTube. It took him a year of consistently streaming and posting to start to experience success.

Courtland Allen sold Indie Hackers—a community for online business owners—to Stripe for millions of dollars. But this was after 10 years of him starting companies that failed, coding every day, and being uncomfortable in Silicon Valley.

Courtney Maginnis has spent over a decade doing comedy in New York City. She’s worked with College Humor and Comedy Central and still works a nine to five to support herself.

Point is, building true skill and leverage takes time.

If the result is the goal, we’re just suffering while looking at the clock. As cliche as it sounds, we have to enjoy the process.

Right now, my YouTube channel isn’t that great. The first few interviews I used were for my book so they’re just grainy Zoom calls. I don’t know how to make good thumbnails. I have to refine my interviewing and editing skills.

But I’m loving the conversations I’m having and working on the show is the most fun I’ve had of any of my creations. So if I stick with it, I have no doubt it’ll be great. But what metrics are keeping me going?

The idea of 100k subscribers sounds amazing. But that will probably take years. That can’t be my compass.

So my one and only goal right now is to make it to 100 episodes. Once I get there, we’ll see how I’m feeling.

To end, I’m not suggesting we don’t set financial goals or look at metrics. I just don’t think doing something unfulfilling in the hopes for success is sustainable.

We don’t necessarily have to do what we love. But we should at least like what we do.