Momentum is a beautiful thing when you’ve got it. But sometimes it can feel like we’re just sitting in the water going nowhere. I’ve certainly felt that.
When I first started blogging, I was only drawing a few hundred visitors a month to my site. No matter what I tried it seemed like I couldn’t get any real momentum.
“Becalmed” is the word sailors use for this. Maybe there’s no wind on the water, or it’s blocked by land. Whatever the reason, our sails are slack and our boat just drifts along.
Keep Your Sails Up
We all face these periods, don’t we? Whether we’re talking about building our platform, launching a new product, or expanding our business, the last thing we want is for things to be calm.
I don’t know of any way to entirely avoid slow periods like this, but I do know the one thing we should avoid when we get discouraged waiting for the wind.
Don’t take down your sails.
So many people give up just before the wind comes. As a result, they’re not ready to take advantage of the opportunity.
I stuck it out. And four years after I started blogging, I hit an inflection point. The rise of social media, being linked by larger sites, finding my voice, and writing more intentionally for my reader all formed a powerful gust in my sails that began to propel me like never before.
But what if I had taken down my sails in year two or three?
Are You Ready to Catch the Wind?
There is a simple and important principle at work here. Imagine a graph with two intersecting lines. Success comes when the line of opportunity meets the line of preparation.
Without preparation opportunities are lost or don’t amount to very much. We’re simply not ready to make the most of them—or anything at all.
So what does preparation look like when the wind is low?
- Stay engaged. If you want to catch the wind, you’ve got to keep your sail up. Stay on deck and fully engaged. If you’re blogging three times a week right now, for instance, keep it up. Work on what you can, keep learning, stay productive, and be consistent.
- Stay alert. Sometimes the wind is there, but we’re unready to catch it because we’re facing the wrong direction. Be alert to how things are moving in your space. Maybe there’s a new social media strategy or a new way to monetize your blog. If you’re both engaged and alert you will be able to shift into a new position quickly and get moving again.
- Keep adjusting. When we start catching wind, even a little, we can trim our sales and make the most of it. Small adjustments can have big impact on our momentum. Whether it’s improving our product, reworking our message, refining our technique, or expanding our skills, small changes can make a big difference.
One of the reasons I started Platform University was to help people keep their sails up so they’re ready to catch the wind and adjust their trim to really gain momentum.
But the principle goes beyond building your platform. It works in just about any area of life: business, relationships, and more. We’ll never get far if we’re disengaged, unalert, and unwilling to change.
Opportunities will come. Do you have enough sail out to take advantage of them?
Question: Have you ever missed a big opportunity because you were unprepared?