I really hate failing. It is the opposite of succeeding and winning, and I really like winning. Sometimes though, in order to succeed we must fail. This is a tough lesson to learn and one that I’ve been struggling with just about every single day this first quarter of 2014.

How Does Success by Failure Happen

At the beginning of the year, I published 31 goals in the 7 different areas of my life that are most important to me right now. This is my operating framework for success this year. This was overly ambitious, and I was well aware of this from the start.

This should come as no surprise — I succeeded at the goals that were most important to me and failed miserably at the things that weren’t. I’m still coming to terms with this, but I think I’m ok with that. If I can consistently succeed at the things that are most important, then it just becomes a matter of priority and focus.

Where I Focused, I Succeeded

There are certain goals that I absolutely crushed. Lose 15 lbs. Wake up at 5am. Eat Paleo and no fast food. First Quarter Sales Target. Pay off Credit Cards. Read 2 books a month. Totally crushed these goals.

We smashed our Q1 Sales target at Firehawk Creative by 34%. This sales target was something that we agreed was “very ambitious but achievable” back in December although we had no idea how we’d get there at the time. Giving myself a 34% “raise” over an already ambitious target is a monster success.

Reading. Reading has simultaneously a wonderful source of pleasure and the bain of my existence. On the business side, I read The Ultimate Sales Machine — complete (best book I’ve ever read on sales and marketing), Jab Jab Jab Right Hook and Built to Sell (and even Go Pro as a bonus). Those 3 books were amazing. The Ultimate Sales Machine is the best book I’ve ever read on sales. On the personal side, I read the first 3 Game of Thrones book. Equally amazing. The only problem is that they are 1000 pages each and I only had 2 weeks to read each one to stay on schedule. I love the idea of “binge reading” but this is definitely not ideal. I found myself stealing time to read instead of doing many of the things on my list that I failed at. I have 2 Game of Thrones books left and I’m committed to getting through them by the end of May. After that though, my pleasure books are going to be supremely tiny :)

I also succeeded at doing P90x2 7 days a week even though I missed a few weeks because of a back injury. My recurring revenue is starting to take off which is beyond exciting. I’ve done considerable work with designing my own site although none of it is visible yet, and I’ve done an ok job with mentoring and volunteering.

Conflicting Goals and Not Enough Time

One thing I realized very quickly is that I had conflicting goals. I want to wake up at 5am every morning AND get a minimum of 6.5 hours of sleep every night. I admit they are not directly conflicting as it is possible to go to bed before 10:30 every night and achieve both. But what about reading, and working out, and eating healthy and crushing my sales target and blogging. Oh blogging.

Maybe conflicting isn’t the right word. Maybe competing is a better word. All these goals were competing for my time and there was no way I could get everything done in 17.5 hours of awake time every day. Naturally, my sleep suffered to get more things done. My blogging suffered. My monthly experiments have basically failed. My monthly experiment for March was to “maintain a strict email routine.” Know what that routine was? I only answered emails once a week. Not exactly what I had in mind when I dreamed up that one.

Moving Forward

The first quarter of 2014 was a complete success for me and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Even though I failed (quite a bit), my productivity and accomplishments were through the roof. And I don’t mean accomplishments strictly in the business sense. I was able to spend a lot of time with my family and friends, schedule some “me” time in there and start the beginning of what I’m calling the “Triple Option” of business success.

I need to sleep more. I need to pick smaller books to read. And I need to continue to prioritize the things that are most important and execute them with laser focus. Oh yeah, and keep having fun every step of the way.

Overall Grade for the Quarter: A-

Q2 — I will destroy thee!