Private victories, public victories

Segmentation is one of the basic marketing tenets. If you build a product, target a segment that will love its strengths and ignore its shortcomings. Similarly, if you want to build a blog that becomes massive (assuming you aren’t someone famous already), you are better off focusing on some niche. Examples of such niches are productivity, personal finance, minimalism, health, etc. Going after learning in as broad a sense as this blog does isn’t a winning strategy. For those of you manage to stick on despite this very broad focus, I try every once a while to explain what this blog is about. An idea that will help frame this is – private victories precede public victories.

I am re-reading the 7 Habits very slowly. And, it was nice to be reminded of the logic behind Covey’s structure – focus first on private victories and, only then, will public victories follow. This is the basis of the character ethic that Covey describes. It is about bringing a certain sustainability into life and happiness by being effective. So, what does that even mean?

I’ll go back to my concentric priorities image. If we think of the world as a series of priorities – you, your people, your work and your community – private victories are focused on you, your people/relationships and parts of your work.

The principle is straight forward – you will be able to lead others only once you lead yourself. And, to lead yourself, you have to first understand how to be proactive, to think long term while focusing on what you control and learn to prioritize.

The first time I read Covey’s book, I spent all my time attempting to put the “private victories” portion in action. I had such a long way to go. However, as I read it now, I feel more comfortable with this portion of the book. I am still giving it plenty of thought but I find myself thinking about optimizing existing approaches versus building them from scratch. This process has taken 7 years. And, I’m sure it’ll be a few more years before I spend more of my time attempting to live part II.

How does this relate to this blog? I write about what I most need to learn. And, this blog is and has been shamelessly self focused over the past 8 and a half years. That will likely change with a time. But, for now, it is me teaching myself how to develop a perspective that is both effective and kind. That is why this blog is some parts happiness and other parts productivity, minimalism, some finance, health etc. It isn’t the most effective marketing strategy and is certainly not a case study in segmentation. But, I don’t intend this to be any of that.

This is about growing into character – one learning at a time, over a very long time. It is hard work. But, it is also an awesome process. As is evident in the sheer number of topics I write about, there isn’t any prescribed way to go about this process. Sure, there are a few principles that help. But, for the most part, you are on your own. It is just a journey that requires consciousness and engagement.

And, mostly, it is a journey.

PS: “For those of you manage to stick on despite this very broad focus, I try every once a while to explain what this blog is about.” – if you’ve stuck around for a while, you probably don’t need an explanation. So, you probably guessed this – this is more a reminder of the “why” for me than it is for you. Thank you for your attention. :)

8 thoughts on “Private victories, public victories

  1. There was a time in my ‘blogging-life’ when I worried a lot about a niche. I thought that’s how you get lots of traffic and readers and the thing I knew most about at that time was ‘marketing.’ That’s actually not true, but I was getting a masters degree in marketing so, at the very least, I was thinking about it a lot. (And hence my awful domain name.)

    I rejected the niche approach about 1.5 years later when I decided that I couldn’t think of anything more boring than talking ad nausem about personal branding, social media analytics, or anything else for that matter…(This was around 2011 mind you).

    Ever since I’ve written about countless things. Most notably work/life, social psychology, health and happiness. And I explore top performers and what they do to be successful. My readership is down (of course, there was much less competition in ’08-’09), but the connections are stronger and the conversations are more interesting.

    Not to simplify too much, but I’d rather be interesting than an expert.

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