Do You Know Why You Blog?

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.

Let’s suppose you answered that you blog to provide an income. I cannot argue with that and of course there are bloggers like Kristi that do indeed make a living from blogging and writing online.

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.

Giveaway Time

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.

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    • says

      As a wuss that hates the cold (even 45 degrees bums me out) I used to really have to work on shifting my focus when I was back in the UK. OTOH, I didn’t know all about the power of values then!

  1. says

    well i do not blog…. but found ur post is very good and different from general blog post..
    i am an affiliate marketer..who has earned $15 in 4 months(couple of weeks back) of IM career…
    well i dont know what my core values are but following is the reason why i am into IM..
    want to support my parents financially…my current job gives me $500 per month… not enough…wanted to go for higher education for better job opportunities … not enough money for that also…. so jumped into IM with the hope of making some decent part time income so that i can support my further studies(other than loans etc)…
    but i have learned so much in these 4 months(thanks to some good mentors which i found) it seems i dont need higher studies…if i continuously put effort i guess IM is enough to achieve what i want 😀 … lets see what happens.

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  2. says

    Thanks for an interesting post. I’ve often wondered what motivates people to blog, and why there are such an increasing number of bloggers in the blogosphere, most of them not making any money from their efforts. I’m a freelance writer who would be much more gainfully employed sending out constant proposals and pitching for paid work BUT these often get put onto the “Later” pile and my blog takes precedence. So you’re right, it’s not all about the money. For me it’s about the need to connect, to find like-minded people who share my points of reference and who might have “aha” moments and find echoes in their own lives from my writing. It comes from a need to be helpful and human in an increasingly technological world. Would I put blogging above Family? Never. Would I write something and not be able to sleep at night? No. Would I be able to give up blogging? Probably not. Because blogging has become an integral part of what makes me tick too.

  3. says

    for me blogging is one way of expressing your ideas to wide audience. It does not matter if you make money out of it or not, the important thing is that you have sent out your message and hopefully other people will find it interesting.

  4. says

    Wow, this is one of the best posts I have read recently– it really gave me a huge insight into some missing ‘parts’ in my life. I blog to somehow change the world a little and change it where it will make the most positive impact and make the most significant change: writing to parents so they can open their mind enough to let their children follow the life that is inside their own hearts.
    I hope to one day make income from it but I just don’t know how yet.
    My top three values are: family, freedom, honesty ( especially with ourselves)
    Thank you for such an insightful post!
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  5. says

    I do blog not to get crazy and to develop myself and other people’s minds. It may sound crazy, but it is true. I don’t blog for money as it isreally hard and i don’t think it can bring big money that I really need right now, but the pleasure I get out of communicating with people, that’s really the value.

  6. says

    Great post! ONE of my most important core values is to help people realize and understand how they connect emotionally to money, without judgment, so that they can begin financial healing. I believe poor money habits are almost always a symptom of something deeper, not a conscious choice.

      • says

        Sorry I was not very clear. I work with clients as a CFP and financial life planner. We see that, often, people’s connection to money is formed unconsciously in their childhood experiences and their observations of how their parents view and treat money. Is it never talked about? Is money “bad”? Is money used as a reward? Is it used to release tension (so-called “shopping therapy”) etc. These experiences are frequently carried over to adulthood and repeated. When they realize WHY they view money as they do, it becomes easier to educate so they view money as a tool and can remove the emotional connection.
        As for lack of education, it is extremely rare that the “average” person, at least in my experience, has any money education. This leads to enormous feelings of shame, unfortunately, and it is a big relief when they realize they are not the only one! Sorry for such a long post – this is a passion of mine.
        You say it all so much better – I really appreciate your comments!

  7. says

    Hi Tim,

    I started blogging for two reason initially, to make money and to help others who were trying to do the same. But as I went along, I got deeper and deeper into this world and nowadays, I juts blog, because I truly love the challenges and also the fact that it really is a great way to learn new things while sharing what you already know with others.
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  8. says

    I really don’t know the exact reason as to why I blog.Its not money for sure, in fact I have no clue if I can make any money from a Travel and Photography blog.I definitely blog to make new friends on the internet, who would be interested in my stories and eventually I would be a big bang “Lonely Planet” kind of a thing! Well just kidding, I just blog to tell my stories to the world and find even 1 person from any corner of the earth would be helped or inspired in someway or the other.
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  9. says

    Thanks for the full list of why anyone can blog. since blogging became a relatively mainstream form of communication, I feel it has opened up the ability to keep those you are trying to reach with relative data and news that they are searching for. What make blogging fun is not only can inform, but at the same time attract potential followers and customers. In the future, I can see blogging and how to use SEO on one’s blog as a series of courses taught in college and at universities as the format becomes more integrated in our culture.
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  10. says

    Its really a very thoughtful article. I am sure a large percentage blog for money only. People who are financially very stable, celebrities or well known people blog because of their hobby or for recognition but such people are very less.
    People who blog for money should understand what it takes to make money through blogging. many of such people start blogging with great enthu but when they see no income even after 3 month or 6 months they just leave.
    This article will help many of the people who are in the confused state of mind. Thanks for sharing.
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  11. says

    The fact remains that whether one agrees or not, most bloggers are blogging for money. Everyone starts with a high ambition, looking at the convenience of blogging (from home) and how some bloggers have earned big amounts. But, over a period of time, many lose patience since it requires a lot of patience to start earning money from it. Many people then either leave blogging or just stop updating their blogs. There is a threshold to be crossed before one starts making a reasonable sum of money.
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  12. says

    Interesting post Tim!

    I love to blog, but honestly, if pressed for a specific reason as to why I blog, I’d have to say that “if it weren’t for making money, then instead of blogging I’d be involved in some other enterprise where you could be making money; but for now blogging is quite profitable and as long as the trend continues I intend to keep blogging.

    As far as your statement “almost no correlation between money and happiness once you earn a six figure salary,” I’m certain that may be true for some, but for me personally – it seems that the more money I make the happier I get.

    Thanks for sharing
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