I have a confession to make. When I read other, more widely-distributed newsletters, I suffer a horrible case of envy. The dirty, little secret is that I would love nothing more than to have my weekly newsletter become my profession — to spend days doing interviews (which I don’t do for this newsletter currently), reading books, writing books, and generally creating an ecosystem of very interesting ideas that help others live remarkably better lives.
Alas, this newsletter is many things — alright, a few things — but it is not that. At best, given the time I have available to write every weekend, I am lucky if my topic of choice is mildly pithy to say nothing of deeply profound and life-enhancing.
Other newsletters are part of a thriving ecosystem of content (ugh, that word), each piece generating a trail of ad dollars behind each reader, listener, and/or viewer. These elite newsletter producers have paid advertising, a subscriber list a mile long, and a fully-integrated blog complete with pop-ups selling the author’s coaching services, plugging their courses, or advertising their weekly podcast. Then there are the endorsements, the social media accounts, the speaking engagements, … their newsletter is a portal into a world with them at the gooey, monetized center!
Meanwhile, here I am turning green with envy. I want the nearly infinite subscriber list, the marketing funnel that’s mapped out and practically dripping with beautifully branded marketing collateral, the speaking engagements, and the book deal for a work that neatly stitches together my flawless weekly newsletters. Or do I?
Recently, I was listening to Lewis Howes’s “The School of Greatness” podcast (talk about an ecosystem). On it, he interviewed Marisa Peer
— author, speaker, therapist, and hypnotherapist trainer (yet another ecosystem). During the interview, Peer outlines how the mind and body interact. The TL;DL (too long; didn’t listen) is this: your thoughts determine how your body feels. The one thought she has been encouraging people to write on their bathroom mirror so they will always remember it is: “I am enough.”
I’ll get back to Howes and Peer in a moment.
Let’s turn to Mark Manson’s “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
,” which I’ve been squeezing in over the past couple of weeks. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this book, but I am actually enjoying it. In it, he writes, “If you want to change how you see your problems, you have to change what you value and/or how you measure failure /success.”
So, let’s combine both of these ideas:
“I am enough” + To change how you see your problems, change what you value and/or how you measure failure/success = ?
The problem with envying others’ work is that it can lead to a host of self-defeating thoughts, which, if what Peer says is true, can actually manifest physically, and not for the better. It also makes embracing the value “I am enough” impossible. Envying others’ work also stems from the fact your actions don’t align with your values. If I valued the outcome of a really sick marketing funnel, I'd take on the challenge — the pain — of creating one and following through on it.
The fact of the matter is, what I value in making my newsletter is different than what other people value. I value the weekly writing habit more than I value the marketing, speaking engagements, and number-one-on-iTunes-podcast. I crave the opportunity to synthesize my thoughts for the week, and I share them in the hopes they might help others. I also like to do other things with my free time besides manage subscription lists, hunt for potential advertisers, and chase down speaking engagements. These aren’t things I value — at least not right now. As Manson would say, I don’t give a f*ck, and that’s okay, because, as Peer would encourage me to think constantly, I am enough.
Loving what you make depends on valuing what you make and embracing that it comes from a sacred place — you. Too often we’re taught to critique and compare, to hold our work up to a microscope and then slide someone else’s work alongside it to see how our work stacks up.
Now, it’s important to take responsibility for what you put out into the world, but it’s equally important to love what you make and remind yourself that it, like you, is enough.