Someone once visited my blog for the first time, read the stuffs and came back and asked;
“Are you not bothered?”
“About what?” I said.
“The traffic on your blog…”
“What’s wrong with it?” I asked as though I knew not where he has headed.
“You have great contents but people seem to hardly come by. Few likes. Few comments. I don’t know how many followers you have sha…”
“Oh… Well, I am not bothered. People read my blog. They tell me they were blessed and that alone gives me the feeling of God’s pleasure. My concern is not the comments, but the impact.”
“OK then… Great work!”
I thanked him. As he walked away.
Truth be told, I lied. I check my WordPress stats everyday; refresh my Notifications every time especially when I just published.
And as I read through my Reader, I see blogs with great content like mine but with greater success by the numbers. I see blogs with hundreds people engaging the writer and the piece and I compare. I am frustratingly discouraged. Yet, I continue to write. I continue to read. I continue to deliver great contents.
Earlier in the year I asked my editor if he knew anyone who could be my blog critic. I figured there must be something wrong with my posts as the stats tell me. But the guy said the Word of truth needs not be criticized. He advised I requested for the honest opinion of some people about my blog as well as ask them to keep their comments about my posts coming throughout the year with the goal of making me better. I did and the response was good.
Last month, as I read Don Cousins’ Experiencing Leadershift, I saw that the problem is not peculiar to me. He shared the stories of several pastors who were complaining about the stagnancy the numbers exclaimed in their ears. Some were angry. Some became hard-driven. Others frustrated. Worse, some began to compromise their messages.
Cousin says these are the dangers of focusing on the numbers as our evaluation of success. I agree with him. We must take note of the numbers no doubt, but we must not focus on them as determinants of our success.
“Success defined by numbers is the language of the world and reflects the economy upon which this world is built. Applying the language and economy of this world to the Kingdom of God is unsafe and unsound.”
As I began pondering on this, I started to ask about how then I am to measure success. I want to be a successful blogger. I want to be a successful speaker and writer. But how can I know when I am successful? I know you also want to be successful in the work God has placed in your hands. You probably have had to ask yourself if you are being successful.
Don shares his thoughts on this and what I call the 4Fs of success. I first read about the first three in Leslie Haskin’s Held.
1. Your faithfulness.
The first parameter for the evaluation of your success according to our Kingdom’s standard is your faithfulness. Rick Warren once said that God will not judge you by what he has not given you. You will be judged for your faithfulness with the gifts, talents, passions, personality and experiences you have been given. The story of the talents come to mind here. Do you notice that the Master commends both guys for their faithfulness and not for the amount they brought back in?
2. Your fruitfulness.
Jesus said our Father is most glorified when we bear fruits. Success in God’s kingdom is measured by how much your life and purpose pursuit manifest the fruit of the spirit as well as the fruit of good works. How much do you love? How much joy do you experience? Do you have peace? How long can you wait in the queue?
3. Your fulfillment.
The disciples that Jesus sent on a missionary journey came back with their hearts full of joy. They were fulfilled doing the work. Your purpose is the point where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep needs. Thus, we can measure success the Kingdom-way, by examining whether or not we feel God’s pleasure as we do what we do. Remaining in a work you are not fulfilled at does not only make you failure, it kills the success of others.
4. God’s fame.
Jesus said we should let our light so shine in a way that men see our works and glorify our Father in Heaven. The ultimate focus of our faithfulness, fruitfulness and fulfilment must be to make God famous. There is a way we can work and only God will be glorified. My favourite song by Lecrae is Background. We must let God take the lead and we just play the background.
I still check my stats. I really would want you to drop a comment after reading this and like the post if you can. But I am learning not to measure the success of my pursuit by what the numbers say.
There is more dangerous effect of focusing on the numbers and that is Pride.
Noticing the numbers is valuable. But it is important we do not make them our focus lest we become successful in the wrong assignment!
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