I have been thinking a lot lately about value. What it means to me, what it means in my life, my work, the purchases I make, the time I spend working, hanging out with friends, or just reading a book. It’s strange how as you get older, you start to give credence to ideas that you previously wouldn’t have spent much time thinking about. This is one of those things.
Having left a corporate job six years ago, my entire livelihood working online has been about providing value. (Corporate work didn’t care if I valued my “customer”; I wasn’t paid to have such insight) If I don’t provide enough value to others, I don’t get a paycheck; it’s that simple. My primary website is a good example of that. The Good Human now gets over 100,000 visitors a month, has thousands of subscribers through RSS and email, and has 11,100 followers on Twitter. It has become a brand that I need to work on every single day. For a website that started back on the Blogger platform on a whim, this is pretty amazing. I am still blown away by the community that has been built around the site. That’s not to toot my own horn; I am literally astounded that it happened at all. But were I not providing value, it wouldn’t have been a success. For six years and 2,300+ articles, I have done my best to provide value to the reader. I know I need to continue to do it or they will disappear tomorrow – I can’t afford for that to happen. So I strive to provide value a few days a week in hopes that long-time readers continue to read and new readers climb on board. My work is providing value, and I try to be good at it.
But what about in my own life?
Do I subscribe to the concept that value is important? Sometimes. I don’t always use my time wisely. I sometimes get lost on the internet, blindly clicking from one link to another. I sometimes buy a product that I know won’t last that long. I sometimes do something just because someone else thinks it’s a good idea, even if I realize I don’t. I sometimes watch TV shows I don’t want to watch, read books I don’t want to read, and attend events I don’t want to attend just because someone else thought they were good/worthwhile/important. I am accepting someone else’s definition of value and rolling with it.
I need to work on this.
And I am getting better. I am better at saying no thank you. I am better at standing up for myself. I am better at making the decision that is right for me, regardless of what anyone else thinks. I am getting better. I am bringing more value into my life.
If I go out of my way to provide value for others, I should be willing to do the same for myself, yes?
I hope you said yes.
And I hope you do the same.
Don’t live anyone else’s life, live your own. Your choices, your needs, your desires, your wants – they are yours to make and yours to live with. Bring value to your own life if you have been too busy trying to provide value to everyone else that you have been neglectful. It’s not selfish, it’s healthy.
Think about it.