If you observe successful people you notice that success, both online and off, requires setting far-reaching goals and working hard enough and consistently enough to achieve them. What are less obvious to observe from these winners are the steps and pacing necessary to reach a goal. Let me illustrate this with a favorite allegory of mine.
A long time ago there lived a true martial arts master. He trained and had as his disciples only the best and most skillful fighters of the time. He put them through extremely grueling and challenging tests over the course of five years. It was certainly worthwhile, as upon completion they proved virtually unbeatable against all other opponents in every martial arts tournament they entered.
One day, a young apprentice came to the master. He was very talented and eager to learn, but wondered if there was a way he could learn everything in far less time. Five long years, he thought, was just too much.
“Suppose I practiced twice as long each day as the other students?” The master replied that it would take him 10 years to finish the training that way. “What if I practiced all day, every day, including weekends, and only slept for a couple of hours. How long would it take then?” The master replied that it would take him 20 years. Frustrated now, the disciple asked once more, “Why is it that each time I tell you I will double my efforts and dedicate more time to finishing the training you say it will take twice as long?”
The master chuckled. “The reason is obvious. If you do what you say, you will always have one eye fixed on your goal. But you need both eyes on the tasks at hand to reach your goal. Working with one eye alone, it will take you twice the time.”
Blogging and SEO with both eyes open
Let’s say you want to be the Darren Rowse or Rand Fishkin of the blogging/SEO world. Instinctively you would try to publish one or more high-quality posts each day, and do a massive amount of networking, guest posting, conference speaking, interviews, link baiting, and so on. The end result: you would burn out in less than a month (week?). However, if you take your time and write carefully researched posts and publish them when you feel they are truly ready, network and build your readership gradually, form lasting relationships with other bloggers, and try to learn as much as you can, you have a better chance of succeeding. And, most importantly, you will have both eyes open when you spend time with your family and friends.