If you’re just starting on your streaming journey, it’s likely you have some kind of ultimate goal for your channel. And since most channels don’t begin exactly how we envision them, that goal might be pretty far off. You’ll work toward those ambitions over time, with plenty of experimentation and difficult lessons along the way. Similarly, even if you’re an experienced streamer and you’ve already met your original stream goals, you’ve likely since created new objectives to chase after. It’s good to stay fresh, and continually try to reach new heights. But as I’ve explored in entries before, goals come in many shapes and sizes. And some goals can actually hurt your channel more than they help. So what’s the best way to approach a goal if you want to stay motivated throughout your journey?
There’s an old proverb: ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.’ In other words, the prospect of eating an elephant is so unimaginably daunting that the only way to get it done is to focus on the next bite. In streaming, it’s best to think the same way. It’s fine to have a large, long-term goal for your channel, but that’s like eating an elephant- it’s impossible to envision an actual day-to-day strategy that will lead you where you want to go when you think in terms that big. Instead, break your large ambitions down into little ‘bites,’ which will help you not only to stay on track with your tasks, but to feel a more frequent sense of accomplishment.
➢ TRUST IN THE PROCESS
Depending on which fantasy universe
you visit, the elephants might be
even more daunting.
Of course, the lesson here isn’t only that goals need to be broken down in order to be reached. But even more importantly, the goals you coveted at the beginning of your journey may not be right for you once you’ve reached them. In the book Atomic Habits, author James Clear has this to say about the dangers of using goals as your North Star during a project: “Goals create an “either-or” conflict: either you achieve your goal and are successful or you fail and you are a disappointment. You mentally box yourself into a narrow version of happiness. This is misguided. It is unlikely that your actual path through life will match the exact journey you had in mind when you set out. It makes no sense to restrict your satisfaction to one scenario when there are many paths to success.”
As you may have guessed from its title, the book instead recommends creating habits to guide your life. This will let you find satisfaction in the day-to-day process of working on your project. And with these much more fluid and personal values to guide your path, you’ll have a better chance of finding where you truly want to be. I should mention that this book, Atomic Habits, is probably one of the most important resources a streamer could ever read. It has helped me in countless ways, and I’m sure it can do the same for you.
➢ FOLLOWING YOUR HEART
There are a few quotes I love which touch on this subject of de-prioritizing large goals. Several important people across many fields have explored the same sentiment. Legendary animated film director Hayao Miyazaki has a charmingly naturalistic take: “There are so many things we can’t do anything about if we think about generalities. Things won’t go well because there is a huge gap between the generalities and the particulars. If we see generalities from the top of a mountain or from a plane, we feel it’s hopeless, but if we go down, there is a nice road running about fifty meters, we feel this is a nice road, and if the weather is fine and shining, we feel we can go on...” And as Sam says in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King when Frodo laments the huge expanse of Mordor between the two hobbits and their goal, “Let’s just make it down the hill for starters.”
Let's just get through this massive
army of Uruk-hai for starters.
Finally, in his incredible 2005 Stanford commencement speech, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs gave some insight on how he embraces the futility of forward planning to simply follow his heart: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Incidentally, if you haven’t watched this 15-minute talk before, I highly recommend it. It’s one of the most motivating speeches I’ve ever seen.
So the next time you’re working on your channel and you begin to worry about the massive goal looming over your head, take the advice of many who came before you. Forget about the big picture and focus instead on the now. Eat the elephant one bite at a time, and your streams will eventually get to where they need to go.