We live in a result-oriented culture.
Productivity, outcomes, impact—these are the things that matter most.
And, as a result, my tender visionary soul has kind of become all about the results.
When I run a Sacred Circle round, I’m focused on the numbers of people we bring in. When I review the last year, I’m most interested in the money that came in and money that went out.
If I didn’t at all—truth be told—I probably wouldn’t have a business.
But only focusing on the results is kind of like only following the rules.
I had achieved a lot of results in my life. I graduated college with honors and started a successful PR agency before I even graduated. I worked with billionaires, philanthropists, and leaders in healthcare reform. I worked a Human Rights Foundation benefit.
I followed all kinds of rules. And I got great results.
To an outsider, maybe it looked like I’d achieved the pinnacle of whatever I was supposed to. But, on the inside, I wasn’t very happy.
Because results don’t equal experience.
That’s a big one, so let’s say it louder for the folks in the back.
Results don’t equal experience.
The objective (or outer) results have no bearing on my subjective (or inner) experience.
I’ve had Sacred Circle rounds with tons of people that weren’t very fun for me. I’ve had Sacred Circle rounds with just a few people that were magnetic and amazing.
If results are our only metric, then we’re just following the rules again. And we only know which results matter from someone else’s rules.
Our experience is how much we’re enjoying it or not. How much meaning it’s giving to us. And that’s something different entirely.
I spent years building my business with a results-focus. Because that’s what I knew. I left PR and decided to build this because I wasn’t happy. And then I went right back to the exact same results-focus.
Get a good amount of readers. Sign a book deal. Write for prominent national publications. Build courses. Make money.
Check. Check. Check. Check. Check.
Except I still wasn’t happy. My experience wasn’t fulfilling or meaningful.
So I decided to try something radical—for me. I decided to focus on what felt good to me. What metrics actually mattered to me. Even if they were only qualitative and pretty vague.
When we’re talking about results, they’re really easy to see. But, when we’re talking about experience, all we can do is feel.
And I had to ask myself how things felt. If this Sacred Circle round felt good or not—regardless of how many people we got. Because it was a sign if we were getting the right people, if I liked the work, if I was growing and changing, if people were resonating.
I had to ask myself if I enjoyed writing my blog—regardless of how many readers I had.
Or if, at the end of the year, I had fun and grew and felt meaning—regardless of what my numbers said.
And, I won’t lie—it was hard. Because I wanted to really, really prioritize those results. And, of course, sometimes they were necessary. Like I said before, if I didn’t focus on them at all—if I had no idea how much money was coming in or out—I wouldn’t have a business.
But I had to give at least equal weight to my experience. Because that’s kind of the thing that would fulfill me or not.
And something happened. Not right away, but pretty quickly. I started writing for fewer publications. And attracting in fewer readers. And making less money.
But my fulfillment was skyrocketing.
I loved the work I was doing more than ever. And the people we were attracting in were fantastic. And I finally felt at home. More like myself than ever—but somehow different.
And it seemed to me that the results I wanted were inevitable eventually and they didn’t matter as much anymore. Because, yeah, of course, I wanted to make sustainable money. But I’d already gotten the thing I was looking for the whole time.
The feeling. The experience. The fulfillment.
And the rest felt inevitable when you’re that filled up. And it didn’t matter as much.
We visionaries start out with such a pure vision. But then we get hijacked. We get fucking hijacked by life, influences, results. Telling us we have to achieve a certain thing. Or it’s not successful if we don’t meet certain metrics. Or if we have to take a part-time job while it’s growing.
And we get all upset. Feeling like failures.
But what about our experience? What’s our experience like?
Because I can tell you right now—I’ve done a lot in my life that met all the results, and really kind of sucked. And I’ve done a lot that failed basically all of the conventional results, and it was kind of awesome.
And so I aim to be somewhere in the middle. Sustainable enough to actually get to do this work that I love. But always prioritizing having an amazing, fulfilling experience.
Because, when you’re having that much fun alone on the dance floor, people generally get inspired to get up and dance.
It only takes one visionary just laughing and busting moves to get an entire party started.
When we love what we’re doing, we achieve mastery. For the simple reason that we just don’t have the emotional space for all of the other stuff. We’re too invested to remember to be insecure or to doubt everything or to hesitate.
We just do it. Like writing this blog. We’re just there. Fully in the present moment. Channeling our genius forth. And blocking out the rest of the world.
And then we can have our emotional freak-out later. And think, “Oh shit, was that any good?”
But the damage was done. We did it already. Because we were having so much fun, we didn’t even notice it was work.
That’s the vision I want to hold. One that is full of a fun, meaningful experience.
Because, ironically, that’s always where I’ve had my best results. And the ones that actually matter to me.
Questions for Reflection:
*Answer in a journal, in the comments right here, or take it over to the Sacred Branding® Facebook group where we can support one another:
Are you focusing on the achievements and results, too?
— Do you focus really hard on hitting certain metrics, or getting “enough” people into your program, or making X amount of money?
— Have you been really hard on yourself when you don’t attain those results? Have you ever gotten results you thought mattered to you a lot, but then they didn’t seem to make you fulfilled?
— What if you focused on your experience at least in equal parts to the results? What if you started wondering if you were having fun or feeling meaning in every moment? What if you started judging success by your experience just as much as by your results?