Sometimes You Don’t Have Control Over The Goals You’ve Set For Yourself

Back at the end of December I wrote a post here and included a video on some of my long and short term goals for 2014 and beyond. It’s no secret that I want to be a professional speaker and travel around the country giving presentations and getting paid for it. There’s also no question that I know what the secret is to getting there.

Wicker Paradise Photo Archive: Superbowl Sunday Inspiration Quote. shared via
Wicker Paradise via Compfight

Well… I kind of have to modify that second part, the one about knowing the secret. Truth be told, even with over 1,500 articles on this site, 3,500 or so total for all my blogs, articles all over the place and for as long as I’ve been online I’m still not all that well known. I’m not infamous enough or notorious enough or brazen enough to go too far out of my comfort zone of who I am to crossover enough to be really big time.

Yet, with all that folderol, I assumed that when all was said and done that I would have achieved at least enough notoriety as a black blogger that, at least somewhere along the line, I might have a shot at making a top 100 list somewhere of black bloggers, and possibly have it extend to social media.

Thus, when a post came out on a blog that listed the 100 Most Influential Black People on digital/social media, I thought I might have an outside shot at it. After all, I came in #224 in a recent blog list and was maybe behind 7 or 8 black bloggers on the list. That’s the kind of thing that makes you think you have a shot on a more directed list, wouldn’t you agree?

Well, it didn’t happen, but I don’t want you to think I’m mad at the list or upset that I’m not on it. That’s not the point of this post because that’s not the lesson here. It’s not that I’m not on the list, or my buddy Ileane Smith isn’t on the list or Lisa Irby isn’t on the list or Beverly Mahone isn’t on the list, folks who are more prominent in social media moreso than me. Well, it is, but it’s not.

If you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission
billsoPHOTO via Compfight

What it’s about is criteria that, for goals many of us set, we don’t have a chance to reach because we not only don’t know the criteria until after the fact, but we don’t even know how to get into the game when compared to some of the folks that are on the list, or in the game.

When the list starts with President Obama, Beyonce, The Rock and Oprah, you know you’re in trouble. It doesn’t matter whether the question is if they’re actually just prominent and influential people in general, which carries over into social media, or whether their social media presence is strong enough so that even if they weren’t famous celebrities would they even count. What matters is that it’s not always about criteria… it’s about who you know and who knows you.

I’ve got to be truthful. At 54 years of age I don’t think that any marketing I could even think about doing would propel me to the level of most of the people on the list, so shooting for a top 100 inclusion makes little sense. Heck, if the folks I named above couldn’t get it done, what the heck am I going to do?

However, I have decided that one of my goals for 2014 is to work on becoming more prominent, to the point where my name is mentioned by more people, I’m interviewed by more people, more people view my videos, and my name does get out there in some fashion.

Do I think any of it will get me on the list? Nope, not a chance. However, it could happen and that’s not really what the goal comes down to being about.

Ever hear of a guy named Eric Thomas? He’s a motivational speaker and I’ll bet that you’ve heard some things he’s said in motivational videos without realizing it’s him. He’s a guy who grew up in a bad section of Detroit, dropped out of high school, lived a horrible life that ended up with him and his wife being homeless for a long time until he realized one day that his experience didn’t have to define him. He went back to get his GED, then got his college degree, got his master’s degree, and is a paper from a doctorate, just before he turned 39 I believe. He had a company and employs others, travels all over the country giving motivational speeches and does a lot of other interesting things.

And he has a goal… to get the Nobel Peace Prize. He said it’s not that he thinks he’ll really get it but it’s an audacious challenge he feels will motivate him to push harder to be better and become better known, to help more people, and even if he doesn’t get there he’ll improve and improve the lives of many more people.

See, we all have goals that we can have some control over. I had a minor goal since Christmas to buy a washer and dryer, which seems like a small goal, but my wife and I bought a washer and dryer, as well as a new stove, weeks ago. Cash, no credit, no payments… that was a minor goal but one we had control over.


Sometimes we have goals that we may or may not have control over, that may or may not manifest themselves the way we think they will. Last year I had a money goal I wanted to hit and I didn’t quite hit it in 2013. However, from last May to this May I will have hit that money goal, which will mean I hit my money goal in a year, just not the way I thought I would. And, if I continue on my present contract until at least the end of November, I’ll actually hit that money goal by then for 2014; if it ends, I have other things in the works to help me get there.

And other times we have no control over the ultimate goals we set. In 2012 Pete Pelliccia and I decided to shoot for the Shorty Award for blogging, and we really thought we had a chance at it. We didn’t come close, even if we both finished in the top 15. The winner was some musician in another country who, as far as I could determine, didn’t even have a blog. But people in his country voted for him and he was popular there and that was that for us. I haven’t tried since because in its own way it’s rigged, not by the people who run it but by groups of people who can vote anyone into a category they don’t really qualify for. Still, it was a shot at gaining a bit more publicity, as I got to write about it and try to encourage people to vote for me, even if I never knew who voted.

That’s what I want to push on all of you, or anyone who reads this particular post. If you’re trying to make money, if you’re trying to gain publicity, or if you’re just trying to get more followers or even something else, you have to have something to aim for that you don’t really think you’ll ever reach but you still shoot for it. You don’t have to figure out immediately what you’re going to do to get there, though you will have to try something at some point. You don’t have to share it like I have; you just have to do it.

And, like last time, if you think you need some help I’ll do what I can. I’m not going to put more work into promoting you than you should be doing, but if I see the effort and you want some help, I’ll help. Helping is a version of marketing and self promotion also; kind of a pay it forward event if you will.

Am I crazy? Are you crazy? Are you ready for bigger and better? Let me know below; yeah!

28 thoughts on “Sometimes You Don’t Have Control Over The Goals You’ve Set For Yourself”

  1. We’re BOTH crazy! No doubt about it…

    It’s funny I read this post now. I was just telling an old friend of mine how I don’t need millions of dollars to consider myself successful.

    But, yes, I WANT to create a comic or write a book that gets turned into a movie and turns me into a household name. I’m still shooting for that, but just because half a million people don’t buy my work doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a failure. It’s nice to have that pie in the sky goal to strive for, though. That pie will taste really good if you actually manage to get ahold of it.

    Obviously if you have a set-in-stone financial goal, you either meet it or you do not, but in your case you had a kind of “rolling date” on it so it worked out lol.

    In the case of the Shorty’s or other awards, do those really result in any more business/traffic/notoriety, etc? It could be just for bragging rights, but by the time you make it on there, you likely don’t really need any extra bump.

    In any event, the battle continues, onward and upward and so on and so forth.

    Oh yeah, did you ever finish off those ribs from Instagram?? Still seeing that in my sleep lol

    1. LOL! Yup, I finished off those ribs the next day, and now I can’t eat any for a month. Very tasty but heavy and greasy stuff; my body doesn’t recover as quickly anymore.

      You know, if you’re not overly camera shy I think a Google Hangout interview is in order… who knows, that could be the big break you’re looking for (well, okay, I’m not that big but you never know lol). The thing I said in this post is true, more opportunities to get myself in front of more people to help increase both presence and influence and, well, who knows right?

      As for the Shorty’s, it’s like any other accolade… bragging rights for sure, and sometimes there’s a dinner involved 🙂

      1. Actually that’s a great idea man, you never know it definitely could be the thing that does it!

        Only problem is I have absolutely no sort of webcam lol. Oh well, i suppose they are not too expensive these days. I can’t deny the people of G+ the opportunity to view my handsome mug no matter what the cost! 🙂

      2. When I bought my webcam it was $30 at BJ’s. When I bought my second one, same exact brand and model, it cost $50 at Office Max. You don’t have to go really expensive but it depends on what you want. I just wanted one I could put on my computer or laptop, but if you want one you can use almost anywhere… that’s when it gets into big bucks.

      3. LOL – you mean that’s not you, above?

        I think you two would be a riot and, before you ask – I don’t do video. What? You weren’t thinking about how awesome it would be for us to chat together? Hmph!

        Anyway, Mitch, this is a nice post. It is very humbling to realize just how small we are – yet, just how big we can become!

        If you start every sentence with, “I can’t compete with Obama and Oprah,” you never give yourself a chance to say, “I should totally hook up with Mitch Mitchell!”



      4. LOL! Mitch, the “I can’t compete” doesn’t mean I don’t think I can get there. It means that where I am in the eyes of others is pretty unattainable, and probably no matter how big I got, I wouldn’t be seen the same as either of those two. And I’m okay with that; I’ll shoot for #3 on that list any time.

        And I knew you wouldn’t do video so I’ve never asked. However, if the 3 of us were on a video… now THAT would be something!

  2. One of my favorite speakers, Les Brown said, “Shoot for the moon, because even if you miss, you’ll land in the stars.”
    He also said “You gotta stay HUUUUUUUNGRY!”
    Good guy. So Mitch, you ARE offering your public speaking skills at Rotary and Toastmasters and Kawanis and all these places right? They don’t pay but… you get experience and exposure and can pad your resume. (I don’t know if you are already out on ‘the circuit’ so forgive me if that question was condescending.)

    1. Troy, I’ve spoken in 9 states so far, so I’m kind of on the circuit. I say it that way because I haven’t given a presentation in a couple of years now, last year because I was traveling doing my consulting and the same is true right now. I actually spoke at a Rotary meeting but you don’t speak at Toastmasters; it’s a training organization to learn how to speak better in public. I don’t even know if we have a Kiwanis club around here anymore.

      Actually, you might enjoy this write up from my last big presentation:

      1. Oh very nice. Thank you for sharing that post.
        I used to be an Ambassador for Make A Wish Foundation and got my public speaking chops at Burbank (Ca.) Toastmasters #125 which just had its 66th anniversary. As past president of that club I would often invite speakers in from outside to give us speeches. It was a win – win in that they get an audience to perhaps practice a new speech on and often these were for their business so also they would get exposure to new potential clients and my club would get to hear a new speaker and maybe pick up some pointers from them.

      2. Truthfully Troy, I find speaking locally only gives me practice and nothing else. There does seem to be a truth that when you’re from the community people diminish how good you could possibly be, whereas going elsewhere makes you seem like more of a big deal. It’s a strange paradigm but I’m not the first to deal with it.

  3. Hey Mitch,

    Okay first off I’m sorry you didn’t make any of those lists because let’s face it, it would have been NICE.

    I heard an interview with John Paul Aguiar last year and in case you haven’t heard of him he was listed #6 on Forbes Magazines Top 50 Social Media Influencers List. They asked him how he made that list and it was because he was rated somewhat high on Klout. He was even surprised himself that he made the list and at that level so you just never know.

    I think that if we can just set a doable goal and shoot for it then we’re doing the best we can with what we have. It’s always something to work toward and in the process if we’re able to help some people along the way then that’s even better.

    You’d make whatever list I create Mitch! You’re special to me my friend. 😉


    1. Great stuff Adrienne. As you know I dropped Klout because I just didn’t like the message it was sending out, and I’ll stick by that decision. The article I read had many people who were highly ranked there, but not all of them, and that was a nice twist.

      I equate influence with money, thus having more influence helps one along the way. Getting onto lists like this only helps because it introduces us to more people who had no idea we existed. You show up on a lot of lists and you’ve worked your way into getting there; that’s great stuff. In many ways I’ve just kind of existed, not exerted, but I also don’t have a defined audience.

      I have a lot of fun but sometimes believe I need to step it up somewhere. But one has to first make money to live and have more time to do other things, right? 🙂

  4. Heck Mitch, how are you supposed to compete with those credentials? I’m sure if there was a ‘Most popular Black bloggers’ list you’d make it for sure.

    Anyway, one thing is for sure, more people know you now than if you never became a blogger. I also know you’ve affected the lives of a lot of bloggers, including myself. That alone is not a small achievement.

    1. Thanks Pete. You know, I love that I’ve been able to help some folks and affect some lives, but I have bigger dreams and goals, to the extent that sometimes I look at where I am and get frustrated. You’re right, there are some powerful people who I’m not going to ever surpass… or will I? 🙂 Gotta dream big!

      1. Not me. I never expected to get as far as I have blogging so I am quite content. That doesn’t mean that I won’t continue to strive for more mind you. I’m always trying to improve myself, otherwise life would too boring.

  5. I want to sell a million copy of “A New Leaf for Lyle.” How’s that? Audacious enough? 🙂 You help me, I’ll help you… maybe we’ll both get there!

    1. Holly, I’ll help promote in those social media areas I can; just make sure I see them. Beyond that, without reading it or having a kid, I’m not of much more use. lol

  6. It is difficult to get on the very top as one man band. I have been in web business for exactly half of my life. Blogging isn’t much different, practically the top websites are blogs, but with about 20 writers on boards in addition to SEO practitioner, web developers and social media optimization specialists. None of the “A-List” bloggers actually get even close to this.

    1. I know what you mean Carl. I haven’t dealt with that many people, but I did join a consortium of bloggers where the purpose was to help promote each other and comment on each other’s blogs, which was a good thing. That problem was language, topics, and types of blogs, not to mention some of us (like me) wrote often while others only wrote maybe once every couple of months.

      Still, as much as we’d like we just can’t get there without connections of some type.

  7. Hi Mitch. There’s nothing wrong with amending your goals as you go along.

    Muhammad Ali had a goal of fighting Floyd Patterson to become the youngest heavyweight champion in history. However Patterson got beat by Sonny Liston, and this caused a delay to Ali’s plans.

    Instead of quitting, Ali set new goals to beat Liston, which he did. He might not have been the youngest, but he was still champion at 22, which is an amazing achievement.

    1. Hi Jon; welcome. I’m not sure that was quite the goal of Ali as much as winning the championship, no matter who had it. In any case I agree that amending goals as needed isn’t a bad thing, as long as they’re still legitimate in some fashion and, sometimes, hard to attain. But I also believe we all need goals that are within our reach because I feel patterns of success get people used to the idea of winning. Works for me.

  8. OMG, I can’t believe this blog is full of 1500 articles which is really great figure. I guess you are totally right about the goals. Sometimes I feel like I’m controlling all of goals because I think I’m afraid.

    But it’s all about our thinking, “Time to change”.


  9. Nice and inspirational post

    It is very important for any person to set up a goal. Striving towards the goal is even more important. We always have to check whether you are moving towards the goal or away to your goal. Setting goal is very easy but striving hard to achieve it is even harder.

    If you truly believe in yourself and have the courage to obtain it then you can surely reach your goal.There is nothing that goals should be set up with in your reach.Because it is true that some time you do not have control over the goals you set for yourself.

    Good and very motivational post I hope this post would help many people to get inspired and strive hard to achieve their goal.

    Thank you for shopping.

  10. I have learnt this many times specially in few strongest incidents of my life that no matter what you do, but somehow you end up with what destiny has for you. I am not saying that its all luck and destiny that matters but still these play a very important role in deciding where we land up differentiating from the goals we set up. This happened with me in my most crucial stage in deciding a boy for marriage.

  11. one thing is for sure, more people know you now than if you never became a blogger. I also know you’ve affected the lives of a lot of bloggers, including myself. That alone is not a small achievement.

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