Do you ever feel like you’re so focused on what you have to do that you lose sight of the purpose behind it? I think we’ve all been there, and I find myself there right now.
It’s no secret that I’ve been focused on money, or the lack thereof, for a while now. It’s no secret that I need more to continue the lifestyle the kids and I have grown accustomed to. But I think along the way the “whys” have become a secret. I don’t do what I do just to make money. So why did I start my business? Why do I want to write? Why am I creating websites? And why am I trying so hard to keep my house?
I think in my journey to create the life I want I have come across as desperate. And I think that is part of the reason I have not succeeded thus far. I’ve been so focused on what I need to accomplish, just to survive as I see fit, that I’ve dimmed the passion that should naturally be coming through. So this post is an attempt to reclaim and put forth into the world why I’m really doing what I’m trying to do. Will it help me in my businesses? I don’t know. But, more importantly, I think it will help me, to get my mindset and priorities back on track.
My love of books — of the written word in general — has been consistent my entire life, as I touched on in a previous post. I truly believe in the power of the written word to change lives. It’s why I’ve decided to start a new blog and will be creating a new website to go with it. So far I’ve only written the first post, but I think it will shed a little light on how much this means to me: For the Love of Books.
As I get my Educational Services Representative career going, and hopefully pursue my longer-term goal of becoming a librarian, I’m coming to realize how much I want to be involved in promoting literacy. I really want to help kids succeed, and I think this is a wonderful way to do it on a large scale. Not to be too cheesy about it, but “I believe that children are the future,” and I believe books can help our children succeed in the future. I’m not trying to minimize the power of technology, but it can never replace the substance that is a book. It can never spark the imagination like well-written words on a page. It can never truly take us to other worlds, regardless of how much CGI is used, as well as the vivid imagery our own minds create.
Why a Writer?
Perhaps in contrast to my children’s literacy goals, my writing endeavors have been geared toward adults. Perhaps one day I’ll try my hand at writing for children, but I must admit the illustrating end of things has me nervous (yes, I know I could partner with someone to do the illustrating, but where’s the fun in that?). And writing for adults helps me process my own experiences, thoughts, and feelings.
To be honest, I don’t know why a writer. It’s just something I feel compelled to do. And, unfortunately, it’s something I’ve been putting on a back burner for far too long. I’ve put it on a back burner for so long I question whether that burner works any more. Maybe it went out long ago and what was simmering has gone bad. But I’m still tempted to try it…
Apparently in addition to feeling compelled to write, I’m also a glutton for punishment. Because, aside from novels, the medium that attracts me the most is also one of the least likely to bring in income: the free informational website. And that stems from my desire to help people, and to want to help as many people as possible, regardless of their ability to pay. Maybe one day I’ll actually get something in return for these sites, but in the meantime I’ll continue to try to create something worthwhile for others.
Why Keep the House?
While I must acknowledge that in many ways it would be easier to have a “fresh start,” my reasons for wanting to keep the house are multiple and complex.
The first, perhaps most important, reason is that this is my children’s home. I know kids are resilient, but they already have a lot to deal with. This is the only home they’ve known. And to take that away at what is already a fragile time is less than desirable.
The other reasons are more selfish: the sense of pride that keeping the house would provide, the determination to not lose what I’ve already been fighting for, the feeling of loss that would surely result from losing the much-desired spaces I’ve been struggling to create.
It is a challenge, but one I am not surrendering to easily. Until I decide it’s the best option to sell, I will continue to try to make it work.
Creating a Brand
In business it is recommended that owners create a brand. When someone buys something from you, they are not purchasing an item — they’re buying you, your brand. The brand is the image that you portray, what you stand for, what you offer the world. And it’s not just businesses that have brands. Everyone does. Think about the image you portray to the world: who other people think you are, what other people think you believe in and enjoy. That is your brand.
For a while now I think my brand has been “desperate and determined.” And I’m not happy with that. Would you be? It’s time to change. Because while I sometimes feel that way, that is not who I truly am. Yes, I’m determined. But I don’t want to come across as desperate (even if I sometimes feel that way!). I want to come across as open-minded and helpful, knowledgeable and happy, confident and successful. I want to be equated with books and literacy and children. I want to be the one people turn to for creative problem solving, brainstorming, and advice. I want to be seen as professional but approachable. I want to be seen as a good mom, a good friend, and a good person.
To create this new brand, I need to shift my priorities. While I can’t minimize the need for money, I need to focus more on value rather than cost. What is the value of my time? What is the best, most valuable, use of my time? I can’t believe that it is doing things I have no desire to do just to try to bring in a couple bucks. I want to do things that will bring me closer to my goals, that will be in touch with my purpose.
This week, as I juggle Avery’s half days at school, my first cash and carry book fair, Avery’s parent-teacher conference, and prepping for my upcoming author and vendor events, I will be evaluating how to get the most value for my time. And next week I hope to share my findings. Until then, wish me luck! And if you have any suggestions or feedback, please feel free to share!