This is a guest post by Tim Brownson.
I suspect that as you are reading a blog like Kikolani, if you’re not a blogger as such, you’re at least interested in blogging.
Even if you’re not though and your merely passing through, bare with me, because the information I am about to share with you is equally useful to everybody.
For the purposes of the post I’m going to presume you do blog, but please feel free to substitute whatever it is you do for a living in place of blogging if that’s more appropriate.
Why do you blog?
There’s a good chance you have asked yourself that question before and equally there’s a good chance you have been asked it many times by friends and family. As such I’m guessing you replied without too much difficulty.
The problem is though I’m about 95% sure the answer, or answers, you gave were wrong.
I would be happy to wager a substantial amount of cash that you don’t really know why you blog other than at a superficial level. And that’s dangerous.
- If you answered, “To earn a living” You don’t really know why you blog…”
- If you answered, “Because I like writing” You don’t really know why you blog…”
- If you answered, “To be seen as an expert in my field…”
Then you don’t really know why you blog.
If you answered, “To connect with other people,” you’re possibly closer to knowing why you blog, but unfortunately on this occasion, there’s no cigar.”
You may be confused at this stage and even questioning my sanity, because after all, I don’t even know you, so how could I possibly have a clue as to the reasons you do what you do?
The answer is an even more confusing, I don’t.
I have no idea why you do blog, but I do know that the reason is hidden deep within you and very few people ever dig deep enough to find it.
However, money is always a means to an end and never the end in itself.
Money has been scientifically proven time and time again to be a terrible long-term motivator. And there is also almost no correlation between money and happiness once you earn a six figure salary.
So why do you want the money?
Ask yourself now, “What does that money give me?”
If the answer comes back that it gives you a shiny new iMac, a Coach handbag or a bigger house, ask again:
“And what does that give me?”
And keep asking it again and again and again. Until you can’t answer with anything other than a single word which will be a core value.
There are dozens of core values and examples are peace, freedom, connection, love, gratitude, integrity, family, happiness etc, but money is never a core value.
- You may identify with your blog, but if I took it away, you would still be there.
- You may claim to bleed the color of your favorite sports team, but if it closed down you would still be alive.
- You may claim to be a huge patriot, but if your Government did something that made you feel deeply ashamed, you would still be left standing.
Values aren’t like that however, values are part of your identity as a Human Being and nobody can take them off you.
Values drive every single major and many minor decisions you make. Or at least they should if you want to make great decisions and live a more purposeful congruent life.
And that last part is key.
If you don’t know what your core values are, you are rolling the dice on your life. And no, I’m not exaggerating with this stuff, I have seen it with clients hundreds of times and with myself less than a decade ago.
I spent 20 years working in sales and the last 5 or 6 thoroughly miserable. I had no idea why I felt so stressed or why I was job hopping, especially considering I was so “successful” in terms of income and hitting targets.
Now I can look back with hindsight and realize that with integrity critically important to me, often being asked to sell unethically was a real problem.
Similarly, as somebody that values freedom so highly, being trapped by the golden handcuffs was more than a little problematical.
I had two huge value conflicts sat right under my nose and I never even noticed them, because I had never taken the time to work out what was important to me at a level much deeper than the cash I was being paid.
Knowing your values so you can avoid value conflicts is really, really, cool.
It means that if family comes above everything else for you, then you commit to stop writing at dinner time so you can spend quality time with your kids. No excuses.
If integrity is important to you, then you realize you have to be upfront with your readers when sliding affiliate links into posts, and no pretending you’re somebody you’re not. No excuses.
And if peace of mind is the be all and end all for you, you will walk away from petty online squabbles and avoid people that just love to gossip like the plague. No excuses.
It gets better though.
Knowing your values and practicing being in alignment with them whenever possible will make life feel so much easier, but when you also use them to motivate yourself, then it moves into the realms of the sublime.
Imagine it’s the middle of the winter and it’s bitterly cold outside with the windchill hitting -30 degrees and your central heating has broken down. You’re alarm goes off at 5:00am because you have a load of writing deadliness to meet that will require a long day.
Your bed is warm and snuggly and you really don’t want to leave it and start working in your bitterly cold office. You start focussing on what’s wrong with your situation and why you don’t want it to be that way and your mood deteriorates before you have even put your first foot on the floor.
What if you shifted your focus though? What if you made your focus value based, wouldn’t that make life easier?
You’re not getting out of bed to work, you’re getting out of bed to write something that will help other people improve the quality of their life and give you a warm glow. (Significance and/or Legacy)
You’re not getting out of bed to work, you’re getting out of bed early so you have time to play with the kids when they get home from school later on. (Family)
You’re not getting out of bed to work, you’re getting out of bed to deliver a masterpiece of writing that you will then get paid handsomely for thus allowing you to travel to Europe next year. (Freedom)
Got the message?
If you want your blog and life to really succeed, first understand your own values. Then align with your values. And finally, use them to motivate you when things are going entirely to plan
I have written a book/audio program on values because I think it’s the single most important work I do with my clients.
I’d like to give 3 copies away to readers of Kikolani. If you would like one, simply leave a comment and tell me what your most important core value is and we’ll choose 3 at random.